Buchanan Carnival Looking Back, One Year After Derecho

Buchanan, VA - Thursday kicked off the 60th year of the Buchanan Community Carnival. Over the next nine days thousands would head to the Buchanan fair grounds for all the rides, fun and food.

But you may remember this long time tradition was nearly ruined last year. The derecho blew through the carnival destroying everything in its path.

The storm hit in the middle of a packed Friday night carnival, and wound up sending thirteen people to the E.R.

But Thursday night, there were no storms, only celebration and gratitude. In Buchanan, people can remember the day the derecho destroyed this carnival.

"People were running for these buildings, it was somewhat chaotic" said witness Billy Orde.

June 29th 2012, these fairgrounds were turned upside down. Witnesses say it happened in an instant.

"Very quickly, within minutes, and you could see it coming over the mountain and at first, it just looked like another thunderstorm" said Orde.

"It was mass chaos. Kids were running, parents were screaming and trying to find their kids" said John Manspile, the Buchanan Fire Chief.

Manspile and his crew of volunteers were responsible for cleaning up the devastation.

"I've been coming to this carnival, actually participating here since 1978, and I've never seen anything like that. Of course we've had storms, but nothing as violent as that night was" he said.

The carnival was back up and running on generators the next day. But with a town out of power, there were no people to attend.

"And so with that, the carnival did not make any money last year" said Larry Hall, the Buchanan Mayor.

For 60 years all proceeds from the carnival have gone to the Buchanan Volunteer Fire Department. Hall explains what then had to happen after the volunteers lost out on their biggest fundraiser of the year, "And because of that, the volunteer fire department dissolved into the county emergency services" he said.

But now it's back. And this time around, "I'm hoping for it to be quiet here, and really comfortable weather, so everybody can just enjoy themselves" said Manspile.

All proceeds are still going to the Buchanan fire and rescue squad. The Buchanan Community Carnival runs through the 6th of July, starting each night at 6:30.