WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — Two years after the Memorial Day weekend flash floods that damaged hundreds of homes and claimed 12 lives on the Blanco River, the Wimberley community impacted by that flooding came together in a different type of remembrance. The second annual Red, White,and Blues on the Falls event took place Sunday afternoon, bringing together vendors, musicians, and Central Texans seeking to make the most of their scenic local waterways. The Cypress Falls Lodge usually hosts tourists and out-of town visitors, but Sunday the lodge was open for the entire Wimberley area community.
“I think it’s important because there are very few access points here in Wimberley and I think everyone was really impacted by the floods,” said Lynnsie Hastie with Cypress Falls, the event organizer. She said this event aims to bring the community together around “positive vibes” on the anniversary of an event that caused pain for many.
While the lodge Hastie owns in Wimberley wasn’t damaged in the floods, she lost her San Marcos home in the rising waters.
“We just heard the cypress trees bending and growing and moaning and that’s what woke us up and we heard kind of an ocean-type noise and that was the wall of water that was coming,” Hastie said.
She left with just her family members and pets, and her house was uninhabitable when she returned.
“I had a six-month-old kid and we got out just barely,” she explained. But her faith in humanity was restored the following day, Hastie explained that hundreds of people helped her to pick up the pieces of her home. A GoFundMe account raised $20,000 for her family, which paid for the down payment on the new home that she and her family moved into just six months ago.
Hastie said her wedding business slowed that following year, because no one wanted to schedule weddings on the first anniversary of the flood. So she turned the memorial weekend into a community event on her property instead, giving a portion of ticket funds to Keep Wimberley Beautiful — an organization which helped both in flood clean-up and in general beautification in Wimberley.
Many of the attendees Sunday had personal stories about how the flooding altered their lives.
Wimberley High School student Maddie Orner described how her family lost nearly everything they owned in the flood waters.
“I was watching a movie on my laptop in bed and we heard the flood warnings going off, we looked before we went to bed and [the water] was still in the bank, and we live up on a hill in a floodplain so we never thought it would flood. At around 11 o clock the flood warnings kept coming in rapidly, my parents looked and it was at our back fence,” Orner said.
Her family drove away from their home through a gap where her neighbor took down a fence in a cow field.
“My parents went back the next morning, the water went over the roof, and what they could salvage they fit in the bed of my dad’s pick-up truck, we took it back to the place we were staying an hosed everything off,” Orner explained.
She said that almost everyone she knew in town was impacted one way or another. On Sunday, she worked serving food for her community members at the event.
“I’ll definitely take with me to make sure that the house doesn’t get flooded whenever I’m ready to buy a house,” Orner laughed. But Orner says, she’ll also take home a larger lesson from the flooding. “Just to be thankful and to be grateful for what you have,” she said.