Joshua Thomas/For The Recorder Selling barbecue chicken to raise money for the Fort Plain Reformed Church were volunteers and congregation members, from left, Judy Heiser, Eunice Bollen, Jessica Boylan, Sandee Clark, John Griffith and Eugene Ryan.
Joshua Thomas/For The Recorder Riding the bouncy slide at Fourth on the Third are Devon Nichols and Shayla Lynch.
Joshua Thomas/For The Recorder From left, Christian Burke, Paul Moore, Orion Burke and Brianna Moore.
Joshua Thomas/For The Recorder Fort Plain Class of 2018 member Eryka Swank makes cotton candy to benefit her class.
a hefty punch
By JOSHUA THOMAS
and CAROLINE MURRAY
FORT PLAIN -- This year's Fourth on the Third celebration, held Thursday in Wiles Park, was a well-attended event cut short by the sudden arrival of severe thunderstorms and heavy winds, followed by hours of rain.
This morning, representatives from the National Weather Service were expected to visit upcounty to determine if the area was hit by a tornado.
Meteorologist Luigi Meccar-iello said they were surveying areas of southern Herkimer County and western and central Montgomery County for wind patterns.
"It could be straight-line wind or a possible tornado," Meccariello said. "That is why we are going to send out team, to see the cause of the wind."
There were reports Thursday night that a barn had collapsed and an empty box trailer had been lifted and dumped onto Fordsbush Road in the town of Minden.
Also, according to Montgomery County Emergency Management, a house on Route 5S in Minden lost part of a roof. Numerous trees were reported down across the county.
Streets and yards were also flooded in portions of Amsterdam. However, Amsterdam Fire Department Battalion Chief Jeff Urbanczyk said they had no calls related to the storm.
"Our city of Amsterdam lucked out, which is fortunate," Urbanczyk said.
In Fulton County, a portion of the shoulder running along Route 110 in Broadalbin was washed away.
Broadalbin-Kennyetto Fire Chief Scott Hall said the shoulder of Midline Road was also washed away. Hall said areas of routes 30 and 29 experienced severe flooding as well.
That includes a section of Route 29, west of the Vail Mills roundabout, which was flooded and closed for a while Thursday night. Hall said there was a rollover car accident at the roundabout. Several other reports mentioned roads being closed due to flooding.
Hall said calls started rolling in between 4 and 5 p.m. Thursday.
"I think it was 20 calls; they were all related to road damage," he said.
And in Fort Plain, they were having a party. At least, they were trying to.
As soon as the Fourth on the Third celebration began around 3 p.m., Wiles Park filled with attendees, many of them eager to feast on barbecued chicken, served as a fundraiser for the Fort Plain Reformed Church.
The sun was out, kids were running back and forth between the assortment of bouncy rides and youth attractions. The park was loaded with 44 vendors and organizations -- more than previous years.
Event chairman James Katovitch said of the packed park, "We're maxed right out on the power and spaces."
Around 4 p.m., a horse-drawn wagon began taking spectators to the Fort Plain museum. The capital region band Emeralds of July took to the stage under the massive entertainment tent, following a set of acoustic covers by Mickey Boslet and Louis Sierra.
The band only got to play a couple of numbers, however, before their set was interrupted by DJ Wayne Tucker, who announced that the crowd should seek shelter, as a storm was scheduled to arrive in 15 minutes. The storm, he said, would pass quickly and should be followed by clear skies.
As dark clouds loomed on the horizon, people filled the tent. The band got in one more song before Tucker announced that a tornado warning had been issued, and encouraged the crowd to move under the wooden Wiles Park pavilion.
Less than five minutes later, as the crowd gathered in the cramped space, many of them running from one place to another to beat the rain, the sky opened, drenching the vendors and organizations still attempting to secure their merchandise and products, the wind whipping down tents faster than they could be dismantled.
The bouncy houses were deflated, and as quickly as that bout of bad weather passed -- and good weather seemed a possibility -- people began to leave the pavilion to filter back into the park. Those who sought shelter in their cars emerged, thinking the worst had passed, though some vendors had packed it in and called it a day.
At that point, Katovitch explained that fireworks would still hopefully be set off, possibly 15 minutes earlier than their originally scheduled 9:45 p.m. start.
"We have a real tremendous lineup this year -- it's just the bad weather," he said. "If it's raining really hard, we'll have to call it, but if it's just a mist, we'll set them off."
They never set them off.
Petting zoo animals were moved to a tented area as people lined the sides and watched. Suddenly, as quickly as the first storm came, another unleashed rain and lightning over Wiles Park. The animals were hurried back to their vehicles, still in cages, while many of the remaining attendees took off for their cars, deciding to leave for good.
Though a large portion of this year's Fourth on the Third really ended as soon as the rain began, Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Jeffrey Smith sent out an e-mail just before 6 p.m. explaining that, due to the inclement weather, the Fourth on the Third events scheduled for the rest of the evening were officially canceled.
Meteorologist Meccariello said rain showers are expected to blow through Montgomery County today, but the rest of the weekend looks to be more promising.
He said temperatures are expected to rise between 70 and 80 degrees throughout the weekend.
"This weekend looks very tranquil and very nice," he said.
Joshua Thomas/For The Recorder Fort Plain Class of 2018 members, from left, Eryka Swank, Jasmine Bates, Allysa Nellis, Emile Swank, Maecee Lathers, Rhyonn Ford, Emily Marsh and Alexis Fisher, sold candy and baked goods made by their parents to benefit their class' future endeavors, including their senior trip.
Joshua Thomas/For The Recorder Kaylee Sanders (left) and Sarah Paradiso make macaroni jewelry at the Price Chopper booth.