According to the rain record, it’s rained on July 29th 113 of the last 138 years in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. Now, this may seem an odd thing for someone to track, but in Greene County, we celebrate the fact that one local farmer made a comment to William Allison, a local pharmacist back in the late 1800s, that it always seemed to rain on July 29th. Mr. Allison and his brother Albert kept a record of the rainfall until the 1920s when Bryon Daily took over the recordkeeping. Today, we close off High Street, the main thoroughfare through uptown—we have no “downtown” as you must go up a hill to get to downtown Waynesburg —and we have an old fashioned street fair. The center of the festival takes place on the courthouse steps. This tradition began in 1979, and Rain Day is the only celebrated holiday in the world that is not a success unless it rains!!
1939 marks the earliest record of the notorious “Hat Bet” when celebrities—the likes of which include Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, The Three Stooges, Johnny Carson, Willard Scott, Harry Anderson, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, Fran Drescher, Jay Leno, and the Dixie Chicks, just to name a few—wagered their hats against our rain! The hats won from the multitude of celebrities who lost their wagers are on display here while others were auctioned off in order to raise funds to begin a hospice care in the 1980s.
Rain Day festivities include the Miss Rain Day Pageant, comedy and musical entertainment, face painting, food booths, the Texaco Country Showdown, umbrella decorating competition, turtle racing, bubble gum bubble blowing competition, and the Company K Salute.
The Company K Salute commemorates the courageous Greene County men of Company K, 2nd Battalion, 110th Infantry. The Rain Day festivities are stilled each year and a moment of silence is given in honor of those brave men of Company K. Nearly half their 250 men were either killed or wounded in France during World War I on Rain Day, July 29, 1918. The late John O’Hara, a local newsman, is often quoted for having once written, “On that Rain Day in 1918, it rained bullets on the men of Company K.”
Young or old, the people come out to celebrate and hope it pours!
If you’d like to know more about Rain Day, navigate the Rain Day website, which can be found at: Rain Day
If you’re going to be in the area and would like to enter your turtle in the race, just come on over…but you might want to bring your umbrella!
Until next time…may the rain in your life always be a cool summer shower and a cause for celebration!!