Tunbridge Fairgrounds Take Icy Beating

Gordon Barnaby surveys the extent of flooding and ice buildup at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds on Friday. The grounds had flooded the previous evening when several ice jams formed nearby. (Herald / Dylan Kelley)

Cattle, Sheep Barns Flooded By Ice, Debris

Warm temperatures and a round of drenching rain prompted the First Branch of the White River to jump its banks near South Tunbridge, inundating portions of the nearby fairgrounds with a four-foot-deep flow of ice and debris. The flooding, which was caused by ice jams near the Cilley bridge to the south and the Mill bridge to the north of the fairgrounds, sent large chunks of ice and tree limbs caroming through the sheep and cattle barns on Thursday evening, according to Gordon Barnaby, who serves as vice president of the Tunbridge Fair. Stating that the full extent of the damage to the barns won’t be fully known until spring, Barnaby said a wash rack—which was re-installed last year—had been completely taken out by the ice flow that also damaged barn doors and siding. “The buildings will need some work,” said Barnaby in a phone interview on Wednesday afternoon. “They’re banged up but nothing seems to have moved.”
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Barnaby also reported that the ice, which likely reached its highest point during the early morning of Friday, came within four inches of the Mill bridge, which had been previously destroyed by ice and subsequently in 2000.

Bonnie Stride looks over an ice field that inundated the Tunbridge Fairgrounds after a cycle of warm temperatures and rainfall late last week. (Herald / Dylan Kelley)

Bonnie Stride looks over an ice field that inundated the Tunbridge Fairgrounds after a cycle of warm temperatures and rainfall late last week. (Herald / Dylan Kelley)

“It’s always in the back of your mind that the ice could come back up,” said Barnarby. “But now the river is back in course and the water is hopefully flowing under the ice.”

Having recently returned from the Vermont Farm Show in Essex Junction, Barnaby said he was amazed by the number of people who asked about the damage to the fairgrounds “You can’t imagine it. It’s nice to know so many people care,” said Barnaby, who remains confident that the fairgrounds will return to working order once the snow melts.

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