Cloudy With A Chance of “Rain Day” by Valerie J. Patterson

Rain Day statue in borough park

Rain Day statue in borough park

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!!

Greene County Courthouse

Greene County Courthouse

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.

High Street

High Street

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.

High Street, 2

High Street, 2

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!!

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15 responses to “Cloudy With A Chance of “Rain Day” by Valerie J. Patterson

  1. we have no “downtown” as you must go up a hill to get to downtown Waynesburg —- Oh My Gosh loved this and the post and pictures. Not sure if you took them on Rain Day but that sky doesn’t look like rain. And, being from the NW believe me I’ve had a lot of experience with rain days.

    And loved your ending of “Until next time…may the rain in your life always be a cool summer shower and a cause for celebration!!” You live in a wonderful place Valerie. And, you take the time to appreciate it. It doesn’t get better than that. 🙂

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      Hi Lavada! So glad you enjoyed learning about Rain Day. You’re right, I live in a great place. Excellent for raising children. I took the pictures back in April to accompany a Flat Stanley story I’d written for a grade school class out west in Kansas. When I received the Flat Stanley, I wanted to do something special so I created a picture book for the class. Your next trip east will have to be over Rain Day!! 😛

  2. What a fascinating post and fabulous pictures and what a cool idea to celebrate Rain Day. We couldn’t do that here the UK as it rains most days – well except for the last fortnight when the weather’s been sweltering and parched. Thanks for enlightening us, most enjoyable.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      Hello Kit!! Really glad you enjoyed the post. We have a lot of rain here, too. They claim we only see the sun an average of 89 days per year. The rest are either raining, foggy, snowing, or the sun is hidden by enormous clouds. Still, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Happy to show you a wee bit of my town, too!! 😛

  3. I love this! Living in an area of the world where people think it rains all the time, I’m all for rain festivals. Your town is absolutely lovely. And thanks for the good thought at the end. “A cool summer shower” sounds great. And I pass the sentiment right back to you. 🙂

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      Thanks, Laurie!! I, too, like the idea of celebrating rain. After all, we need it to sustain life!! Glad you liked the pictures of town. It’s really very quaint and charming and though it has grown and changed since I moved here, it still has a welcome-ness large cities often lack. 😛

  4. Jose L Siordia

    Just like the rain, it is refreshing to know a little history about this community. Thank you Ms. Valerie. : )

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      You’re very welcome!! I was both surprised and very pleased to see you had stopped by Jose. I’m glad you enjoyed the article and learned a little about the place you and your family now call home. Happy to have you as a Waynesburg-er, too!! 😛

  5. What a fascinating post, Valerie! Love the idea of celebrating rain day. Such a unique and positive thing to do. As Kit says, we could be doing a whole lot of celebrating here in the UK as it seems to be raining a great deal of the time 🙂 Thanks for a really interesting read.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      Thanks, Tricia! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. They were preparing the courthouse steps with a stage area today in preparation of the festival on Monday. I’ll have a funnel cake in your honor on Monday! 😛

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  7. I love, love this. What a wonderfully unique and cool celebration. Funny how the tradition started and I bet the participants in that first conversation never foresaw what would happen to make this day special each year. This is such a fun thing!!

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      Hi Jillian! Thanks for popping in and reading and commenting. It rained on Rain Day! Yay! And our town garnered another celebrity hat for its collection. I think it’s a pretty cool little celebration myself, and I hope it’s something that continues on for a long, long time! 😛

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