Local Tattoo Artist Reflects on Red Cross Rescue at Festival

"credit" Jeff HarpHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/7/13) - The following article is an editorial-style piece written and submitted to the Sugg Street Post by Elite Tattoo Lounge owner and tattoo artist, Aaron "Chappy" Chapman.

In honor of the Mad Flavor Fest and their decision to donate all the proceeds from the event to the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the American Red Cross, I decided that I would write a few words about one of my own life experiences involving both a festival and the American Red Cross.

Coincidentally, both Jessica Dockrey (co-owner of the Sugg Street Post and one of the organizers of the Mad Flavor Fest) and I were involved in a natural disaster at a local Kentucky arts and music festival. It was a natural disaster of such epic proportions that it garnered the attention of the American Red Cross. Myself, as well as my wife, infant son, sister-in-law, and several friends had to be rescued from this natural disaster by the American Red Cross.

My story starts on September 22nd, 2006 at the annual Terrapin Hill Harvest Festival, a three-day music and arts festival held in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. My wife and I had been to the festival the previous year and had a lot of fun, so we decided to go the following year and to bring some friends this time around. As was customary at this event, being that it was a several day affair, we pitched our tent in the camping area on the festival grounds so that we could stay the whole three days of the festival. Unfortunately, we pitched our tent in a flood plain, and that day, when the rains came, the lowest portion of the campground began to flood. We managed to get our car and tent up to the top of a hill before our stuff was completely under water.

The day after the rain stopped, we put all of our wet gear out in the sun to dry and we prepared ourselves for a fun night at the festival. We figured the worst was behind us and could not conceive of another storm coming through to ruin yet another night of festivities. Oh, how we were mistaken! That night began with thunder and lightning storms the likes of which I have never seen. We watched in awe as lightning clawed across the night sky and attempted to take shelter in our flimsy tent. We quickly realized our misjudgment of nature’s fury as high winds began battering our tent from all directions. We quickly decided to take shelter in our car as the tent began smacking us in the head as we tried desperately to protect our infant child. We became instantly drenched as we ran to the car carrying our child, who we incidentally managed to keep completely dry! Once safe inside, we watched in shock as tents flew by like tumbleweeds. People everywhere ran for shelter as their tents were ripped to shreds by the terrible winds. Having survived through the Hopkins County tornado a year earlier, I could only wonder whether or not a tornado was on its way toward us. After hours of watching the storm from the car, we all eventually drifted off to sleep.

We awoke to the surprise of our lives when we realized that the hill that we had managed to park our car on was no longer a hill. The hill had become an island and we were all stranded on it! In all directions, the hill was surrounded by roughly 6-8 feet of water. I surveyed the area to see that whole busses, RVs, and cars were completely submerged under the flood waters. All of the Port-O-Potties were floating around, along with other debris, and I saw people attempting to float across to a nearby hill on a large chunk of the debris. A friend of mine and I walked around in the knee-high muck, trying desperately to find a way out so that I could get my family to safety. Walking around was almost surreal as I saw hippies playing in the mud, oblivious to the predicament that we were all in. To me, it was much more serious as I had a small child to think about.

Thankfully, it did not take long for the Red Cross to get there, which was a relief to my wife and I. They came in several boats to help transport people out of the flood zone. Being that my wife and I had a baby with us, we were among the first people to get boated out. After getting past the front gate, we had to wait for a bus to come and pick us up so that we could be transported to the Red Cross shelter. Once we arrived, we were greeted with a hot meal and were allowed to make phone calls so that we could arrange for someone to come and pick us up. We had to leave our car behind on the island.

A few days later, I got a ride back to the festival grounds so that I could retrieve my car. The waters had finally receded and the amount of devastation was almost unimaginable. What was once a beautiful park with pretty patches of trees had become a giant mud pit with cars partially buried here and there in the mud. Bulldozers were there helping to dig peoples' cars , RVs, and busses out of the muck. And, if need be, the bulldozers were pulling them to the road so that they could be towed home. I was lucky and was able to get my car out unassisted. Others were not so lucky, and many lost a lot of property to the flood. But one thing is for sure, things would have been a whole lot worse if it were not for the American Red Cross. My family and I would have been stranded on that island for days if it were not for them saving us from that situation.

Since I am a part of the Mad Flavor Fest, I wanted to share this account of what happened at Terrapin Hill, and how my family and I were rescued from a flood. I implore everyone who supports our community to come and support the American Red Cross at this event, because someday your safety or the safety of your family could depend on it!

The Elite Tattoo Lounge will be running a mobile tattooing station at the Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival on June 15th.  

Tickets for the festival can be purchased on the Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival website.

To learn more about the festival click the articles below:

Ready for Mad Flavor to Hit Madisonville?

MAD Flavor Fest - Through the Eyes of the Artists

Sugg Street Post
Written by Chappy
Photo by Jeff Harp

Login to post comments
Visit www.betroll.co.uk the best bookies

© 2013 Sugg Street Post LLC:
All Rights Reserved
Based in Madisonville, Ky 42431
info@suggstreetpost.com | 270-871-2147

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram