Severe weather in Arapahoe County spoils roadside vendors’ efforts

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By Stephanie Wolf

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. -- High winds and heavy rain caught several roadside vendors by surprise early Saturday evening just off I-70 in Eastern Arapahoe County, on the corner of Quincy and Gun Club Road.

The vendors, who set up shop every Friday through Sunday near the Arapahoe County Fair Grounds, were conducting business as usual when at approximately 5 p.m. severe weather moved into the region.

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Allen and Rachel Carpenter, owners of the fledgling local bakery Mad Maddox Cakes, moved quickly, throwing their cupcakes and equipment into the car when the weather struck. They said they were lucky and only one box of cakes was damaged.

Sunglasses vendor Tyler Sherwood was not as fortunate.

"Pretty much out of nowhere, extremely high winds took everyone's tents," he said, describing how kettle corn, sunglasses, purses and other merchandise were sent flying in all directions -- he said it even blew over a Porta-potty.

He had to take to the fields behind the stands to retrieve much of his merchandise; he will access the extend of damaged goods later in the evening. Though, he admitted this wasn't an unfamiliar scene, as he deals with this type of weather on almost a "monthly occurrence."

Most of the vendors said they did not see an actual funnel cloud. But 9-year-old Ian, 7-year-old Sebastian and 6-year-old Riley thought they saw a tornado.

"I think maybe it was a funnel," said Ian. "The only thing I remember was a couple of dark clouds coming over, it started raining hard and the wind hit.

The county did sound off tornado sirens to warn locals of the impending bad weather. However, according to Allen, it wasn't until after his stand was blown over that he heard the tornado sirens.