Un-fair weather hits Deschutes County Fair

Vendors feel budget pain after rain as storms rock region

POSTED: 8:41 PM PDT August 1, 2013    UPDATED: 8:42 PM PDT August 1, 2013 
REDMOND, Ore. -

Thrust into the sky, rides at the fair have people screaming.

On Thursday, something else could be responsible for those yells.

"Hopefully it will just be short-lived with this bad weather," said Kaye Williams of Bend.

A packed place turned into quiet space as the rain started to fall, forcing many to bust out the umbrella to stay dry.

"Yesterday there was a line when we weren't even open yet, there was all these people," said Devin Johnson, a vendor at the fair. "Now we've been open for a while and there's not many people. It's just kind of dead and groggy."

Fair officials say the weather has shut things down only once in the past decade.

"Of all the years I've been here, only in 2009 some severe thunderstorms came through and we shut down the entire fairgrounds, " said Fair Director Dan Despotopulos.

Profit at the fair is needed for upkeep, utilities and shows.

"Just the concerts alone and putting that on. You've got bands that we've signed contracts with that we have to pay, whether they perform or not," Despotopulos said.

Vinod Herkishnani's been coming to the fair for seven years. This morning, his tent flooded.

"The rain is just bad for business for everybody, so nobody shows up. I had to clean up everything -- there's water everywhere up here," he said.

On a good, sunny day, he makes about a grand selling sterling silver and fine jewelry. But cut that in half when the rain starts.

"I lose about 70 percent, and if the weather keeps like this, I'll be lucky if I do about $200 today," Herkishnani said.

Some vendors just closed up shop. Others like Herkishnani and a few visitors hope to work out a deal with Mother Nature.

"If you're supposed to make $10 a day to make budget and you only make $5, we hope to make $15 tomorrow- - so we can make it up," Despotopulos said.