Legend says that Rain Day in Waynesburg, Pa., began in 1874 when a local farmer said rain almost always fell on July 29, which was also his birthday.
Waynesburg is a small town of about 5,000 residents 60 miles southwest of Pittsburgh.
The farmer mentioned the phenomenon at the local drugstore, which inspired the pharmacist to continue the farmer’s practice of tracking the weather each year on that date.
Although details seem to vary with the telling, town locals seem to agree that in the 1920s, Byron Daly took over the record keeping.
Daly began betting (I imagine with out-of-towners who didn’t know the local tradition) that it would rain on that day. Usually, the wager was for a new hat.
Daly’s son John, an attorney, was known for his soft-spoken manner and gentlemanly ways and always tipped his hat to the ladies. He took over the chores from his father and the tradition continues to this day.
A local journalist, John O’Hara, began sending stories about Rain Day to newspapers in the 1930s. Since then, such notables as Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Johnny Carson and Jay Leno have bet on the outcome of the Waynesburg weather — and always for a hat.
Records indicate that since 1874, it has rained 112 out of 136 years in the borough of Waynesburg.
The annual Waynesburg Rain Day Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday.
If you can’t make it to the festival this year but it rains in your neighborhood, learning how to make and string polymer clay beads into a bracelet is the perfect indoor activity for you.
You will need help from an adult to bake the clay.
Supplies you will need:
- Polymer clay in several colors
- Fine wire, embroidery thread or elastic
- Glass baking dish
- Plastic beads (optional)
Using package directions, heat the oven to the proper temperature.
To make the two-color twisted beads, roll clay into strands and twist them together. Roll the strands around a toothpick, then carefully remove the toothpick.
To make round beads, work the clay into a ball, then decorate with smaller pieces of clay. You can then roll the small pieces into the large ball or leave the bead three-dimensional. Make holes in the beads with a toothpick. Make sure you make the hole large enough to slide your string through.
Bake the beads as directed. String your beads onto your wire or thread and tie off. If you would like, use plastic store-bought beads for spacers.