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Jul 24, 2016 11:13 PM

Stratham Fair forced to shut down early Saturday because of severe NH weather

STRATHAM - Thousands were in the dark across the state Saturday night - including the town of Stratham where the Stratham fair was celebrating its 49th year. The fair itself didn't actually lose power, but it did shut down early.

A lot of people were at the fair on Sunday as it wrapped up its last day, but Saturday night hundreds had to take shelter when a strong but short storm came rolling through.

"It came down in really quick, kinda out of nowhere," said Mat Bell a vendor at the fair who co-owns Cloud 9 Delights NH Kettle Korn out of North Conway, "Everything just going, blowing everywhere, tents were going down. Yeah, it was chaos."

"It was heavy rain, winds and some hail. Small hail," said Chairman of the Stratham Fair Francisco Marin.

This isn't the first time the fair has experienced a big storm.

"We've had lighting strikes here, had hail plenty of times, lots of wind" said Bell, who has been a vendor at the fair for more than a decade.

The fair is a fundraiser for the volunteer Stratham Fire department and as the clouds came rolling in, they were ready.

"You never know when something will happen. We have what's called an EOC emergency operation center and for years we have worked on perfecting different scenarios so that if there is a major event we are ready for it," said Kathy Flagg who is a firefighter and an EMT with the Stratham fire department.

When the skies opened up, people were rushed into buildings for safety.

"We were able to shut down the rides and get people to cover," said Marin. "The 4-H building and the barns were the ones that held the most. We put them into bathrooms, we put them onto a porch of a private residence. We put them into the food kitchens, we put them into any place that was a permanent building."

The storm didn't last that long and no one was hurt. It's the beginning of fair season, click the link to see a list of fairs in N.H.

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