This year the Midnight Madness in downtown Oakville, Ontario was cancelled due to a storm that hit the area shortly after 6pm.
Just as the musicians were setting up their stages, vendors were setting up tents and displays, children were warming up for their performances and preparations were underway to welcome tens of thousands of visitors, the event was abruptly cancelled due to high winds and a storm front that moved through the area.
Although the weather forecast for the area seemed dire, forecasts in the past had also predicted severe weather that did not materialize, so it seemed everyone went on their merry way setting up electrical equipment, music instruments, lights, music sound systems. Even a local restaurant had setup a speaker system outdoors to pipe music into the street and attract potential diners.
It was a very fast turn of events as the clouds darkened quickly. The breeze turned into gusts and within minutes, the downpour and high winds took some vendors by surprise.
Everyone took refuge where they could as an Irish dance troupe headed for the local Knox-Presbyterian Church which had no power for awhile. The kids were welcomed inside and even given treats to wait out the deluge.
Meanwhile on Trafalgar Road, trees were violently being blown about with tree branches being snapped off, falling onto the road. In one case a rather large limb had fallen on the southbound lane of Trafalgar causing a traffic pileup as the branch blocked southbound travel. Even a police cruiser was stuck in the line of cars as the trees above continued to sway violently and the rain poured down in buckets.
Streets began to flood around the area and the heavy part of the rains lasted 15 minutes or more as the front passed through. This same storm caused widespread power outages in Mississauga as well as basement flooding in Mississauga and Etobicoke.
Local contractor Jim Carcone explains that his phone was ringing off the hook with people needing complete basement flood repairs and renovations. because of the extensive damage in those areas. Oakville was luckier not to have had lasting damage due to this storm, although sadly the Midnight Madness event had to be cancelled.
The next day piles of tree limbs were seen around downtown Oakville as cleanup work began.
It is a shame that Mother Nature decided to intervene this year and wreak havoc on Oakville just before this once a year event, but it is commendable how the community pulled together and helped each other stay safe and dry during the storm.
Well there is always the Waterfront Festival! (August 2-4 at Coronation Park, admission free.