Rain causes problems at Covered Bridge Festival

Visitors to the Roann Covered Bridge Festival don't let a wet Saturday afternoon stop them from having fun. Photo by Joseph Slacian

By Josh Sigler

ROANN -- Rain wreaked havoc on the Roann Covered Bridge Festival over the weekend, with several main attractions having to be canceled due to the steady fall of precipitation Friday and Saturday.

The parade, both tractor pulls, and mud volleyball were among the popular events that had to be cancelled over the weekend due to the weather.

“I think we did pretty well for what we could do,” festival coordinator Donna Harman said. “You just have to make due with what you can for the weather. We are thankful it wasn’t a washout. We didn’t have storms. The sun was shining some place. I was amazed at the people that did come even with the rain.”

Several events, including the Sounds of Summer and Time Travelers concerts, were moved inside and took place in the Community Building on Saturday night.

“It was packed in the Community Building Saturday night.” Harman said. “The Sounds of Summer was a big hit. We had beach balls bouncing around over the people.”

The Karaoke contest Friday was moved into Town Hall, and the room was full, Harman said.

The Euchre tournament lasted until after 9 p.m. Saturday night.

The Lions Club had ice cream to pass out after the parade, but after the parade was canceled, festival organizers opted to pass out the treats to concertgoers Saturday. Kids who attended the magic show, which was moved inside to the basement of the library, also got to indulge in the leftover ice cream.

“A couple had driven down from Chicago to attend that concert, and also a couple from Ohio,” Harman said. “The guy with the Volkswagen decorated with palm trees, he came anyway even though there was no parade, and we parked his car right out in the center of town. The Sounds of Summer took a picture with the car and they wanted to put that on their Facebook page, so I thought that was pretty cool.”

The owner of the Volkswagen, Phil Pion of Fort Wayne, won the festival’s Hawaiian t-shirt contest, as well.

Festival organizers let vendors go home early instead of staying all the way through Sunday.

“Some of them said they didn’t have very good sales, but others said they did pretty well,” Harman said. “So I guess it depends on what people were looking for. Some of our vendors didn’t come because of the weather so the streets looked a little bare. But, we still had fun.”

The carnival rides by Jessup and Beer had little success. They told festival organizers that this is the first time in 24 years at the Covered Bridge Festival that it’s been rained out for three days in a row.

“We’ve had some storms maybe once or twice, but it blows over and that’s it,” Harman said. “At least it was a steady rain and not a washout.”

Thursday night The Bulldogs got to perform their musical stylings outside, but Harman spent most of Saturday morning on the phone and computer cancelling events.

She said she was thankful to have an amenity such as the Community Building so that festival organizers could improvise in the case of bad weather.

Undeterred, she is already looking forward to next year.

“I’m already looking for a theme. That started (Monday) morning,” Harman said.  “We kind of have a theme for next year. We wanted to get started early. We’ll see where it goes from there. You start over again. We were thankful for the cool down, we just wish the rain would have left us with one more day. It would have been nice to have the parade.”

Posted on 2018 Sep 11