Rain Day listed as ‘wacky’ summer event
Waynesburg Mayor Blair Zimmerman sports the hat he won in the annual Rain Day hat bet from Miss America 2009 Katie Stam of Indiana, July 29, 2009.
TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, put together a list of 10 wacky summer events in the United States, and the Rain Day Festival in Waynesburg is among them.
Rain Day, held annually on July 29, dates to 1874, when a local farmer claimed it always rained on his birthday. Folks have gathered in Waynesburg on that day every year to wish for a washout. Since then, the event gained quite a following and has received bets from the likes of Muhammad Ali, Fred Rogers and Jay Leno. Now in its 139th year, visitors enjoy live entertainment, dozens of craft and food vendors, games for children and a series of competitions and an umbrella decorating contest.
Other events making the list are:
• The Wayne Chicken Show – July 12 to 14, Wayne, Neb. Those looking to test their cluck can enter a range of competitions including an egg drop where contestants attempt to catch an egg without cracking it, the chicken legs competition, a hardboiled egg eating contest, and the national cluck-off in which contestants have 15 seconds to ruffle the judges’ feathers with their best chicken impersonation.
• Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival – July 13, Big Pine Key, Fla. Now in its 29th year, hundreds of aquatic aficionados show up to dive and rock out under the waves at this submerged songfest. Staged by a local radio station, music is broadcast into the ocean from Lubell Laboratory speakers suspended beneath boats.
• Pierogi Fest – July 26 to 28, Whiting, Ind. Located 20 miles south of Chicago, the annual Pierogi Fest recognizes the Eastern European lineage of many Whiting residents as more than 200,000 visitors gather each year to sample the culture’s delicious dumplings.
• World Championship Cardboard Boat Races – July 27, Heber Springs, Ark. Since 1987, buoyant builders have gathered on the shores of Sandy Beach to try their best to stay afloat. Using corrugated cardboard, individuals and teams launch their vessels into the 200-meter course, all vying for the coveted “Pride of the Fleet,” given to the greatest engineering marvel, or the “Captain’s Award,” presented to the most creative.
• Cheeseburger in Caseville – Aug. 9 to 18, Caseville, Mich. Inspired by Jimmy Buffet’s hit song “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” this summer celebration offers a complete set list of well-done fun including the anticipated “Parade of Fools” and multiple stages featuring Buffet-tribute bands. Travelers can chow down on both classic and creative cheese-topped patties and later “waste away” the day with ice-cold margaritas.
• Weird Contest Week – Aug. 12 to 16, Ocean City, N.J. Travelers to the Jersey Shore can join in the festivities at any of these kooky contests geared toward bringing family fun to Ocean City. Competitions are held daily in the Music Pier pavilion, boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace and are assorted by age group to help level the peculiar playing field.
• National Lentil Festival – Aug. 16 to 17, Pullman, Wash. Known for its robust lentil production, the Palouse region celebrates its protein-packed produce with this annual celebration now in its 25th year. Legume lovers visiting the two-day soiree can enjoy a scoop of the world’s largest bowl of lentil chili served from a 350-gallon stainless-steel vat, while those more interested in cooking their own agricultural appetizer can enter the legendary cook-off.
• Walker Art Center’s Internet Cat Video Festival – Aug. 28, Saint Paul, Minn. Now in its second year, the cat’s out of the bag when it comes to this frisky festival that highlights the Internet’s best cat videos. Crowds will be treated to a collaboration of films and live music as winners will be announced in several cat-egories, all leading up to the crowning of the coveted people’s choice for the “Golden Kitty” award.
• BugFest – Sept. 21, Raleigh, N.C. Entomology enthusiasts will bug out at the variety of entertainment offered at this pest-ful party hosted by the Museum of Natural Sciences. Travelers can learn about the creepy-crawly creatures through displays around the museum, stump the experts by bringing in an unusual bug to identify, or have their face painted to resemble a stag beetle during the “insectival.”