July 29 – Rain Day Festival in Waynesburg, PA

Posted on July 29, 2013

Here is another one of those “holidays” about the weather.

Have you ever noticed how the world works as if it is deliberately trying to ruin your fun? Like, it's sunny every day of the week until the day you planned a picnic—and then it pours?

Well, of course that's not the way the universe works. Nobody is planning the rain, and nobody is paying enough attention to your plans to try to jinx them! But we particularly notice, comment on, and remember the times that the weather seems to be conspiring against us (or, sometimes, when it freakishly turns in our favor).

Still, there was this one Pennsylvania farmer who lived near Waynesburg in the 1800s. He would predict rain a day or a week or even a month away—but the rainy day he predicted was always July 29.

And this farmer was right! It usually did rain in Waynesburg, PA, on July 29.

Why that particular prediction? The farmer had noticed that it had rained on his birthday for years.... So he began to “predict” rain on his birthday...and, as I mentioned, the farmer was right, most of the time.

A drugstore owner heard about the farmer's prediction and began to do a wager—he bet a new hat that it would rain on July 29, which the people of Waynesburg began to call rain day. The drugstore owner's son; John Daly, kept up the practice of betting others a new hat that it would rain.

Well, it turned into a “thing”! John Daly has won hats from famous people like Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Johnny Carson, Muhammed Ali, and Arnold Palmer (and many others). He bet local TV personalities and a racetrack owner. He kept a large box of all the hats he had won, over the years, and he eventually donated his hat collection to a fund-raising auction.

There is a competition to be crowned
"Miss Rain Day."

Nowadays it is the Special Events Commission that wins hats on years that it rains on July 29, and that gives out hats on years that it doesn't. Pageants, races, contests, a street fair, and other events have all sprung up to help people celebrate Rain Day.

There are quite a few years when it doesn't rain on Rain Day—apparently the stats are 111 years of rain, out of 135—but the festivities continue, rain or shine!

Also on this date:

(another post here)

Anniversary of the founding of the first newspaper west of the Alleghenies

Plan ahead:

Check out my Pinterest pages on July holidayshistorical anniversaries in July, and July birthdays.

And here are my Pinterest pages on August holidayshistorical anniversaries in August, and August birthdays.

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