LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Sunday, thousands gathered for the Buy Local Fair. During the mid-afternoon a thunderstorm moved through the area with heavy rain, and gusty winds that blew over tents.
Thousands ran for cover as the heavy rain fell which caused gridlock on River Road.
"As far as weather goes you do need a safety plan in place. We communicated with our vendors that we did expect perhaps scattered thunderstorms and if lightning was sighted, the fair would be shut down and would be shut down for 30 minutes after the last strike was seen," Jennifer Rubenstein of the Louisville Independent Business Alliance said.
Rubenstein says that 10 minutes prior to skies opening up, an announcement that the fair had to close was made, causing a mass exodus of people.
Storms were on radar as early as noon. By 2 PM, the storm that hit the fair were in Meade County, moving northeast. At 2:45 the storm had just moved past PRP and hit the fair area around 3.
With dark skies overhead and the sound of thunder, fair goers went about business as usual.
"I think next year we will have a bullhorn so we can have patrons return to their car. That is good policy for any event that someone is attending. If you see a lightning strike you should return to your car," Rubenstein said.
Insurance is required in case of injury for events. The city directed us to LouisvilleKY.gov and the special events handbook for regulations. There are guidelines for tents and traffic but we did not see any plans for bad weather.
Rubenstein said that bicyclists would have been allowed to seek shelter indoors and next year they will hand out fliers to let them know.
This weekend The Louisville Reggae festival will take place in the same location and Jennifer Washle with Bisig Impact Group says their plan has come from 25 years of experience.
"Our protocol is that if you see lightning, it is too close so at that point we will shut down the music and anything that will be of harm to a patron and staff. We ask people to go to their cars and we give them a ticket so they can come back in," Washle said.