‘13 Home Show a windy affair

Great weather attracts more than 18,000 to annual event

Laura Edwardson of Maple Ridge gets an eyelift by Brenda Lo using the Oxylift

Laura Edwardson of Maple Ridge gets an eyelift by Brenda Lo using the Oxylift

A rogue wind storm flew through the fairgrounds at the Ridge Meadows Home Show on Saturday, causing momentary chaos but resulting in no injuries.

During the first MiCo’s Swimwear Fashion Show at 1 p.m., a huge gust of wind spiraled in from the east, tearing up banners at the corral, where the Yamaha Riding Academy was taking place, before traveling through the tent village, toppling several of the exhibitor’s tents that were staked to the ground.

“I would say it was a path a couple hundred feet wide because the guys in the remote parking lot didn’t experience anything like what we experienced,” said Cassandre Winder, Home Show project coordinator.

Then the storm approached the fashion show area, picking up the tent where the models were actually getting changed. Although the tent was pulled free from the stakes in the ground and moved around, it remained upright.

But a large tent over the barbecue school went mobile.

“I actually grabbed hold thinking I could contribute something to it and it actually lifted me up like I was a feather and it dropped me, you know, a couple of minutes later when it flipped over on its side,” said Winder.

The wind was so strong, Winder says, that people reported seeing a funnel filled with paper work, debris and balloons swirling upwards.

A barbecue tool being used by Chef Dez was located 300 feet away from the apron it was being stored in.

Winder was amazed at how calm people remained. Three yoga performers on stage were able to hold their difficult poses for several minutes until the wind storm subsided.

Over 18,000 people visited the Ridge Meadows Home Show over the weekend.

“No word of exaggeration, it was our best year of attendance,” said Winder. “It was consistently busy. People were really participating in the BMX and the Yamaha Riders School.”

The summer-like weather was also a challenge, but one Winder’s team was ready for, keeping people hydrated and protected from the sun.