Uninvited 'gusts' crash events

MEADVILLE, Pa. -- Just one day before Derek Peterman and Willow Egli were scheduled to tie the knot, severe weather wreaked havoc.

"I got a phone call from her parents saying: 'Hey, everything's down at her parents,’ and I come back over here and everything was a disaster," said Derek Peterman of Conneautville.

Shortly after noon Friday, strong winds blew through Springboro, which is located 20 miles northwest of Meadville. The gusts flattened or destroyed four tents, which were set up for an outdoor wedding ceremony and reception. The special occasion was expected to draw 350 guests Saturday afternoon.

But the work that took two days was undone is a matter of seconds.

"Pipes and tents are laying everywhere. Tables and chairs. It's what you want to see on your wedding day," said Peterman.

Family and workers raced against the clock to clean up Friday night.

The wedding rehearsal was not the only party that Mother Nature sought to crash, but wicked weather also visited Frontier Park.

The Erie Art Museum’s Blues and Jazz Festival started a day earlier than usual. As the festival celebrates 25 years, the additional days was scheduled to accommodate additional performing and visual arts.

"It cleared up, and we were like 'hey, it's going to be okay.' Then, it started coming down," said Emily Dauber, the event’s producer.

Erie resident Tony Cunningham was returning home and wanted to attend the festival with friends.

"It was wild,” he said. “I was over in Ohio earlier, and I drove through every different kind of weather possible other than snow. It was really crazy. I was hoping that it would break for a little bit, and we'd be able to come out and see some music."

Dauber said, "I mean even the best laid plans go awry. So, it's disappointing, but we're still on."

And still on are plans for the Egli-Peterman wedding.

"I'm good, now,” said Egli. “We have a really good family- and friend-base. They've all been here to help us the past three days, and they haven't stopped yet."
The couple said the wedding is still on schedule.

Several events that were postponed at the Blues and Jazz festival have been rescheduled. An updated schedule can be found at http://erieartmuseum.org/events-blues-jazz-festival/.


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