Threat of severe weather and flooding postpones Festival on the Ridge

HARRISBURG, AR (KAIT) - The 16th annual Festival on the Ridge has been postponed due to the threat of severe weather.

Harrisburg Mayor Randy Mills said festival committee members decided in a meeting Friday morning that it was best to postpone the event in the interest of public safety.

Five to 6,000 people are expected to attend the festival.

"If we get that number of people in town and a cloud comes up or a storm sneaks up on us, we could get somebody hurt and it's just not worth it," Mayor Mills said.

Several inches of rain fell Thursday evening, creating flash floods, according to Mayor Mills. With the strong chance of rainfall Saturday, the committee does not want to risk anyone getting injured at the family-friendly event.

James Casalman woke up to several inches of rain outside and inside his home on First Street in Harrisburg. "I woke up, my neighbors woke up to two feet of water in front of our house."

Mayor Mills says the floodwaters drained soon after they came. "Because we're on the side of a hill, we don't have enough drainage out of the city," he said. "But if it'll quit raining they'll run down fairly quickly."

"(In) thirty, forty-five minutes, the water this morning had subsided to the point that it was no longer on the streets for the most part."

The Festival 5K scheduled for Saturday is still set to take place, with registration at 7 a.m. and the race starting at 8 a.m. The other events have been rescheduled for June 29.

"Since the postponement, the director, who's Mark Weston has gotten a hold with most of (the vendors) and he's got a firm commitment from 40 of those that the 29th of June is good. So they will be here for that," said Mayor Mills.

Governor Beebe declared Poinsett along with five other counties disaster areas due to tornadoes, strong storms and flooding.

The other counties included in the declaration are Cross, Montgomery, Polk, Scott and Van Buren Counties.

Poinsett County Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Frank Kraft encourages people who have damaged homes to call the Poinsett County judge's office at (870) 578-5333 to put their names on the list for federal assistance.

Click here for more information about Festival on the Ridge.

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