July 29 will mark the 149th rainy day in Waynesburg, and the annual Rainy Day Festival returns with a vengeance, with a full lineup of activities and entertainment for festival-goers.
And yes, the festival organizers are hoping for a bit of a rush.
“We have so much to do. We want it to rain, that’s what we’re celebrating – it’s rained 116 out of 148 years – but we want it to rain early in the day or later in the evening,” said Athena Bowman, events coordinator Borough of Waynesburg specials, with a laugh. “Last year we had a torrential downpour and a tornado warning, so we don’t want that.”
The Rain Day Festival features performances throughout the day on two stages and includes arts and crafts stalls, food stalls, children’s games and competitions – among them, umbrella decoration, window display, Miss Rain Day, Little Miss Raindrop, Baby Rain Day, and Diaper Derby contest.
Bowman said the musical performances span a variety of genres.
Performers on the main stage (in front of Monument Park) and second stage (in Fountain Park/College Park) include 18 Strings, an acoustic trio that plays bluegrass, classic British rock, country, folk and jazz. americana; Smoke and Mirrors, which plays classic rock and originals, Curtis and the Shakers, which plays blues and boogie music; The Craigs, an acoustic duo that plays an eclectic mix of covers from the 1920s to present; Trenton Antil, an indie rock musician; and Tyler Jeffries, a student at Waynesburg Central High School.
The headliner is the country music group Buckwild.
A free children’s zone in Fountain Park features cartoonist Jeff Harris, JMS Balloon Art, two magic shows presented by Magic on the Run, inflatable games including archery and ax throwing, and walking characters such as as Chase and Marshall from Paw Patrol, Buzz and Woody from Toy Histoire, and Poppy Troll and Spiderman.
The festival begins at 9:50 a.m., with Jeffries performing the national anthem on the main stage.
The festivities continue with the umbrella contest at 10 a.m., followed by the Diaper Derby contest at 10:45 a.m.
The first musical show of the day, 18 Strings, begins at 10 a.m. The American Judo Hapkido Institute performs at noon, followed by the Magic on the Run Show.
Other performances include EQT Rec Center Tumbling and Cheer and Carmichaels Center for Performing Arts.
At 6 p.m., a minute’s silence will be observed for Company K, 110th Infantry, 28th Division, a battalion from Waynesburg that lost 17 of 18 men in France during World War I on July 29, 1918.
Window Decorating Awards, Baby Rain Day and other contests will follow the moment of silence.
Additionally, the Jack McCracken Award, given to an individual who has served as a humanitarian, civic leader and role model, will be awarded.
The festival ends with a fireworks display at 8:30 p.m.
Rain Day’s mascot “Wayne Drop” will be touring the festival throughout the day.
And the traditional Hat Day Bet continues, with WQED-TV producer Rick Sebak trying to defy the odds by betting it won’t rain on a rainy day.
This year, a shuttle service will be set up throughout the day to take festival-goers from their car park to Parc de la Fontaine.
Bowman thanked the sponsors, volunteers and attendees who make Rain Day a special event each year.
She also expressed her gratitude to Greene County Boy Scout Troops 1280 and 9280, the official “rain watchers” who measure rainfall on July 29.
“Without our sponsors, community organizations, businesses and groups who help us so much, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do for the event,” Bowman said.
The festival was held online in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and last year’s events were marred by heavy rain, so Bowman is excited to continue this unique tradition.
“We are excited to continue the tradition in the community,” Bowman said. “We’ve been following the rain for 149 years, and hopefully we’ll reach that 117th mark.”
To note: The list of Rain Day Festival events and activities can be found on the festival website at raindayfestival.com and on its Rain Day Festival Facebook page.
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