Robin Dunn / Photo
Aaron Sanderson walks his dog in the Bent Tree Community Saturday. While it made a nice break for many, the snow forced cancellation of numerous Christmas events. See more snow photos on pages 6-7B.
Last Friday’s massive snowfall may have been a nice early winter surprise for some, but organizers of weekend events were left out in the cold when their projects were forced to cancel due to slippery road conditions.
From holiday musicals and plays to Jeep rides benefiting Toys for Tots, numerous events were left stranded in the wake of the eight inches of snow that fell throughout the county.
“As a director it was stressful to cancel and have to reschedule,” said Ross Galbreath, who is directing A Christmas Story, The Musical that was set for the PHS stage last weekend but will instead go on this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights at 7 p.m. Galbreath had to check with nearly 40 cast members as well as his crew to figure out when the show could be rescheduled.
“Some kids weren’t going to be available any other weekend and the facility wasn’t available because other things were already booked,” Galbreath said.
Despite being held throughout the week, Galbreath said he felt more people would be able to see the show - in production for months - since weekends by this point in December are already filled with activities.
Mark Roland of Roland Tire had planned his annual Toys for Tots Jeep ride Saturday but had to cancel in light of the snow. He has plans to reschedule for the spring.
“All weekends are busy between now and Christmas so we decided to just do it in March sometime,” he said.
This would have been the fourth year of the ride, which normally brings around 70 people bearing gifts for the local charity.
The Tater Patch Players performance of You Can’t Take It With You was cancelled Friday and Saturday. Those performances won’t be rescheduled.
“We are not going to be able to reschedule anything for the missed performances but we were able to reschedule a good number of our Friday and Saturday audience to Sunday, fortunately,” said Nan Nawrocki with Tater Patch. “We lose a little money - royalties and box office and concession revenue.”
More than a financial loss, Nawrocki said canceling “hurts the cast and crew’s morale” after they’ve geared up and are energized for the final weekend, only to be cut short.
“It’s much like experiencing a loss,” she said. “It was good for us to be able to get the final performance in, though, and this past Sunday’s audience was spectacular!”
The Jasper Farmer's Market was also cancelled, a first in the 18 years it's been going, but “the safety of vendors and customers always comes first,” said a press release from organizers.
The building is not available for them to use this Saturday, but they are going to open at the regular location in the Park n’ Ride lot next to Lee Newton Park with sunny and warmer weather expected.
Michelle Kuriger, tourism director at the Pickens Chamber, said the surprise snow hampered the start of their 12 Days of Christmas in the South as merchants were closed on the day shoppers needed to pick up the card to be punched around town. Shoppers who purchase goods at 12 of 19 downtown locations have a card punched by each one and are then entered into a drawing.
Kuriger said the day they were supposed to give out the cards to merchants the snow began. “I don’t do snow,” she said, with the Chamber and many merchants closing early Friday and staying closed on Saturday.
The 12 Days organizers have adjusted slightly by letting shoppers now pick up the cards to be punched at participating stores anytime and Kuriger was optimistic that the extra days may pay off.
“This will give us a few extra days to prepare in-store displays and to advertise it so hopefully it will work out better,” she said. “We want to see our downtown fill up with shoppers.”
A turkey shoot and benefit scheduled last Saturday for David “Tiny” Teague was moved to their “rain” date, Saturday, Dec. 16th. Teague, who has been on dialysis since 2009, needs a kidney and is now on the active kidney list. To get there, Teague underwent gastric bypass and lost 155 pounds.
The turkey shoot will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the JeepFest site in Marble Hill, followed by a motorcycle ride leaving from the Tate gym at noon and a benefit from 2-9 p.m., also at the gym.
“They are calling it ‘Tinypalooza’,” Teague said. “I hope everything goes well. There’s a slight chance of rain Saturday but it’s going to be in the mid 50s so maybe that day will turn out better anyway.”
Teague said he has been humbled by the community support he has seen.
“I’ve always done benefits for everyone else. I’ve always tried to help people - I’ve never had to do a (benefit) for myself. There’s a lot of people giving. I couldn’t believe that everybody has pulled together like this.”