What is Rain Day?
July 29, 1874 to today
In 1870’s, Caleb Ely a local farmer remarked to Waynesburg pharmacist William Allison that it always seems to rain on his birthday, July 29th. This comment inspired Mr. Allison to keep an annual record of the rainfall on that day, and to date, it has rained 116 out of 148 years.
William’s brother, Albert, continued recording the event. Then, sometime during the 1920’s, the record keeping was taken over by the late Byron Daily.
Rain Day would have remained a local phenomenon if it hadn’t been for the efforts of the late Waynesburg newsman John O’Hara, who began sending Rain Day stories to other newspapers in the 1930’s. For many years, the only observances of Rain Day were a brief ceremony on the Courthouse steps, the annual hat bet between Byron Daily’s son, John, and a national or regional celebrity. Today, newspapers, TV and radio stations from around the world contact Waynesburg every July 29th to learn if it has indeed rained.
The Special Events Commission was created in 1979 and continue to celebrate this tradition each year on July 29th, Waynesburg PA.
Rain Day Consist of live entertainment all day long on two stages, with lots of arts and crafts booths, hometown food booths, children’s games and more! Best of all admission is free! Don’t forget to stop in the children’s activity zone where there is so much fun to be had!
Each year we kick off the event with the judging of the umbrella decorating contest participants, other contests consist of the Baby Rain Day, Diaper derby, Little Miss Rain Drop with 3 age categories, coloring contest and a window decorating contest for our downtown merchants. All contest must be pre-registered! Our mascot “Wayne Drop” attends many festivals through out the year and is walking the beat on July 29th at the festival, look for the big blue Rain Drop, you will be sure to smile!
Prior to our award presentation, A moment of silence is held in memory of our Rain Day Boys, The Rain Day Boys share true accounts of the soldiers of Company K, 110th Infantry, 28th Division. These 18 soldiers headed for battle in France WWI-1918. Of the 18 soldiers 17 of them lost their lives on Rain Day July 29th, 1918. James Farrell died while preparing for the July 29th battle at headquarters when it was bombed on July 28th, 1918. Candice Buchanan and Glenn Toothman III, are 2 local individual who have worked closely for many years on this local history project and published the book “The Rain Day Boys” The Greene that lay near Grimpette Woods. www.raindayboys
Rain Day is the only holiday anywhere in the world that is not a success unless it rains! It is just another day to the rest of the world, but to the people of Waynesburg, it is special festivities and memories made by all.
Special Events are thrilled to be able to continue this annual tradition in our hometown!
For more information go to www.raindayfestival.com