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En Fuego sees first rainout in 12 years

No portion of Saturday’s En Fuego will be rescheduled for a later date, event coordinators said.

About halfway through the entertainment lineup, at approximately 3:30 p.m., the remainder of the event was canceled due to rain and high speed winds.

“Everything was covered in water. It was raining so hard,” En Fuego cofounder and Board member Johnny Giles said.

The decision to cancel was made shortly after board members met with EMA officials and Chilton County Sheriff Kevin Davis to assess the situation. The primary reasons for canceling were the safety of people and liability concerns.

“I really wanted to cancel before we did,” Giles said, adding that within 90 minutes of the cancellation, the weather took a turn for the worse.

Giles said he began to feel uneasy when sustained winds at the site reached 35 mph, as the stage rooftop was rated for only 50 mph gusts.

Attendance Saturday was severely affected by the weather. While there is no official word, Giles’ closest guess is between 5,500 and 6,000. That’s less than a third of the event’s turnout in recent years.

Six out of 10 bands were able to take to the stage before cancellation.

Despite the outcome, there were no reported injuries and efforts to clear the site went smoothly.

Giles thanked the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department, EMA officials including coordinator Teresa Marcus, Verbena Fire Department, Marbury Fire Department, and the 500-plus volunteers who assisted in the effort. He also thanked supporters of the non-profit ministry.

“It was nasty, but it went smoothly. Everyone did a phenomenal job,” he said.

– Scott Mims can be reached at scott.mims@clantonadvertiser.com.