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home : columns : dave fjeld May 24, 2016

6/12/2013 12:31:00 PM
Getting used to the rain
OK, was Riverfest 2013 really all that bad?
Yes, it was wet and dreary most of Saturday and there was a brief, hard rainshower on Sunday.
And, yes, the grand parade and cookout were cancelled and postponed, respectively, and there were a few other events that didn't go on as planned or not at all.
But was it really all that bad?
I maintain that it wasn't. Yes, may not be "Riverfest" without a parade. But consider how fortunate we've been for most of the past three decades to not have had a Riverfest parade rained out.
I remember worse Riverfest weekends. A few years ago, it didn't just rain during the morning and early afternoon of Riverfest, but it poured. And it was cold - miserably cold. In fact, I recall shooting Kids Fishing Tournament photos at Cottonwood Lake and the wind and rain blowing off the lake felt like a late-November gale. (Can you sing "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" type wind and rain?)
Fortunately, the skies cleared and the parade was held that evening under mostly sunshiney skies.
However, I remember a couple of years later when it was questionable whether the parade would be held because there were ominous skies overhead and it was cold and damp. Parade officials decided to hold the parade, but the crowd was quite low and not a parade atmosphere at all.
As it turned out, the parade committee's decision to cancel the parade this year was a good one. It continued raining throughout the early evening and it wound up saving Riverfest some money.
Great decision.
But, again, I say Riverfest was far from a total washout.
The good things
Everything that took place Friday night was in ideal conditions. There was no wind, no rain and no bugs. Whether you had an indoor activity or an outdoor activity, it went on without a hitch.
And Saturday morning's Fun Run and kids races were completed before even a drop of moisture fell from the sky.
I saw people out enjoying the craft show. A number of vendors came prepared for the elements and, thanks to no wind, those vendors were able to continue selling their goods under canopies. One vendor even brought extra plastic which he clothes-pinned around his booth to keep his wares from getting wet.
Shoppers broke out the umbrellas to shield against the raindrops.
The Riverfest Turtle Races actually were a testimony to the spirit of Riverfest. Parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren braved the elements in boots, rain gear and umbrellas to make sure their turtles got an opportunity to "race." Neither the owners, nor the turtles, seemed to mind the elements, well, except for at least one owner and turtle (see page 1).
The bean bag toss tournament adapted and held its event in the BARC Band Room. It wasn't ideal, but it worked.
I was still able to enjoy a Greek gyro, always a Riverfest treat for me. And I ate it while taking in the Windom Fire Department waterfights. That's something I did as a kid back in Primghar, except I was eating watermelon (Primghar had Watermelon Days, "back in the day") while watching the waterfights.
The weather certainly didn't seem to bother the Helicopter Man who was giving helicopter rides over the weekend. I heard and saw the "whirlybird" running regularly overhead all three days.
I'll chalk up Riverfest 2013 as a rainy weekend, but I'll also remember it as one that was far from a total washout.
The Windom Riverfest spirit survived, albeit a little damp.

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