Shields Summer Festival goes on despite Monday's storms - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Shields Summer Festival goes on despite Monday's storms

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(06/20/13) - Monday's strong storms left damage, downed trees and power lines, and a flooded fairgrounds where the Shields Summer Festival is held every year.

That's giving organizers a bigger challenge than usual.

The Shields Summer Festival kicked off, Thursday, with its traditional array of vendors and rides. The rides are in a different spot because of Monday's storms.

For almost 60 years, the Shields Festival has been an important event in Thomas Township.

Don Emeott, who's been volunteering since the early years, says the proceeds help keep the community spirit alive.

"We donate Thanksgiving baskets. We donate to the soup kitchen, we give $1,000 in scholarships to students at the school," he said.

But Monday's storms flooded the fairgrounds and almost washed out this year's festival.

"The area that the carnival is normally set up is completely underwater, and some sustained damage on some of our trailers that were here at the time the storm came in," said Doug Burtch, business manager.

Volunteers worked to clean up the mess right up to the moment the gates opened..

"They were pumping 500 gallons a minute. They had five pumps, big pumps in the front and then plus on the side where we dug up the hole to get the water out," said volunteer Roger Price.

No one is letting anything get in the way of giving people a festival they can remember.

"This year is going to be one of the best years for the carnival and for the gaming and music," Price said.

"I've been in business a long time and we've survived several storms. I would say Monday was in the top 10 of the worst storms we've had come through and we knew we could get the job done. Luckily, it came through on a Monday and not a Wednesday," Burtch said.

They did get the job done. The festival goes on until Sunday at 6 p.m.

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