Event raises money for Oklahoma tornado victims

Jun. 23, 2013 @ 05:01 AM

Heavy afternoon rains sent vendors and attendees at an all-day concert series scattering, although organizers were still hopeful the event raised a decent amount of money for victims of recent tornadoes in Oklahoma.

Called Raising Oklahoma, live music was the main attraction of the event that also included food, arts and crafts, inflatable slides for children and more. The Tramway Volunteer Fire Department, led by Amber Dunigan and Laurie Smith, sponsored the event with the goal of raising money to send to the Red Cross in Oklahoma. They got the ball rolling early this month, just after several tornadoes ripped through that state, leading to 20 deaths and a wide swath of destruction.

However, Mother Nature interceded again in Sanford on Saturday, with rain coming down lightly and sporadically throughout the morning and then letting loose at around 3:30 p.m., causing the 15 or 20 businesses who had set up booths to pack up their things and head for drier pastures than the soaked Lions Club Fairgrounds. Many of the food vendors stayed, though, anticipating bigger crowds for the evening shows by area musicians Chip Perry and Josh Phillips.

Smith also said she was hoping for a large turnout at those later shows.

“We tried our best,” she said, looking around the largely empty fairgrounds at about 5 p.m. “But sometimes people just get scared by the rain.”

Dunigan said the rain hadn’t ruined everything, though. The vendors all seemed to have done fairly well before it started pouring, she said, and a motorcycle poker run went as planned, ending there after starting at Honda of Sanford earlier in the morning, with proceeds going to benefit the Red Cross as well.

Local Red Cross Coordinator Michele Bullard was also in attendance, and she said that while her office keeps all of its finances local, it did send two personnel to Oklahoma in the aftermath of the tornadoes.

“We only sent two because they’re so used to (tornadoes) there, they have a big pool of volunteers for whenever there’s a disaster,” she said.