Waynedale neighbors don rain gear but still enjoy annual picnic
For awhile Saturday, it seemed Waynedale just couldn’t catch a break -- in the rain, that is.
With the community’s trails celebration earlier this year subject to showers, Saturday morning’s lightning, thunder and downpours threatened to wash out the annual Waynedale Community Picnic.
But a hardy group of volunteers pushed on, and by 12:45 p.m., they were rewarded for sloshing through mud and puddles by blue skies and sunshine.
“We weren’t sure we were going to (have it),” said organizer Megan Ryan. “But this is the 16th annual picnic, and we’ve never canceled it before. All the volunteers showed up, tons of vendors showed up, and people are starting to roll in.”
Picnic organizers did have to make some concessions to the weather.
Set-up was a bit scrambled or delayed, and instead of a live band -- the Adam Strack Band had been scheduled -- music through speakers had to fill the bill. It was too dangerous to set up electrical equipment, organizers said.
The event still had about 40 vendors and free food from Waynedale eateries -- hot dogs, pizza, salsa and desserts.
The tent set up for bingo proved popular as a place to keep dry.
Waynedale resident Kent Crowell, 52, dressed in a bright plastic poncho and playing six bingo cards at once, said he and his family come to the picnic every year.
“I’ve seen it cold and raining before,” he said. Still, “This is way down this year, as far as people.”
Israel Lopez, 12, said he and his brother, Alejandro, 17, and mom, Monica, have been coming to the picnic “since I was kid.”
The family lives in Fort Wayne, but has gone to church in Waynedale, he said.
The morning weather was no deterrent. “We’d come regardless,” Lopez said.
Alex Cornwell, an event organizer, said he expected 500 people to attend the picnic by the end of the afternoon. About 100 businesses donate to make it possible, he said.
“Soon as the rain kicks off, they start flocking. It’s such a tradition in the Waynedale community that people look for it every year,” he said.
Jerry Armstrong, 70, of Waynedale, said he was glad he came. He won a $25 Walmart gift card by being the first to shout “Bingo!” during one of the games.
But for him, it wasn’t all about the money.
“It’s close by and people are all friendly and nice,” he said.
Just then, the sun pulled out from behind clouds. “I heard on the weather about 1 o’clock the sun was supposed to come out,” Anderson, a magician, said with a smile. “And here it is.”