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Parade a washout, but Delhi Fall Fest goes on

Daniel R. Pearce

By Daniel R. Pearce, Simcoe Reformer

Jason Husted (left) of Delhi, his wife Denise Husted, mother Janet Husted, and Durrel Lomas of Brantford braved the pouring rain on Saturday morning during Delhi's annual Fall Fest celebrations. Saturday morning's parade was cancelled due to bad weather. DANIEL R. PEARCE/SIMCOE REFORMER

Jason Husted (left) of Delhi, his wife Denise Husted, mother Janet Husted, and Durrel Lomas of Brantford braved the pouring rain on Saturday morning during Delhi's annual Fall Fest celebrations. Saturday morning's parade was cancelled due to bad weather. DANIEL R. PEARCE/SIMCOE REFORMER

DELHI, ON - 

It wasn't just the pouring rain – a rare sight during this drought-stricken summer – that put an end to the Fall Fest parade before it could get started Saturday morning.

It was the thunder and lightning that sealed the cancellation of the town ritual going back many years.

Safety of the participants came first, organizers decided when pulling the plug shortly before 11 a.m.

“It's sad because it's a tradition for the town,” parade marshal Alfie Marques said minutes after cancelling the event. “You put all that work into organizing it and then it rains.”

The parade, which had 27 floats lined up, was washed out. But the rest of the annual September festival in Delhi – a harvest celebration that goes back decades – came off as best it could.

The baby contest was held at the main intersection downtown first thing in the morning before the rain hit and had 17 participants.

“It was a total success,” said organizer Kim Earl.

On Friday night, the area surrounding Main and Church was packed with people who came out to listen to the live music on the stage set up there.

“You couldn't move at this corner,” said Paul Murray, chair of the Fall Fest organizing committee.

Some vendors who had lined the streets downtown stayed open Saturday while musicians continued to play on the covered stage throughout the day.

A few brave souls on Saturday strolled the streets with umbrellas.

“There's always something to see downtown,” said Jason Husted of Delhi, who was out Saturday morning with his wife, mother-in-law and another relative all holding umbrellas.

“We might as well check out what is here. We're a little upset the parade was cancelled, but you can't do everything.”

Murray said it was the first time in memory the parade had been cancelled, noting the OPP agreed “100 per cent” the event had to be stopped for safety reasons.

That the parade would get rained out was steeped in irony. The event is meant to celebrate the town's agricultural tradition – and the rain has been badly needed to replenish the parched soil of area fields.

“If it had have held off for two hours . . .” Marques remarked, his voice trailing off. “We had a lot of people walking on floats. We didn't want them falling off.”

The weekend also included a 75-year celebration of the high school with an open house and alumni basketball game on Saturday afternoon.

Wrestling was featured in Memorial Park on Friday night while a church service was held at the main stage downtown on Sunday morning.

DPearce@postmedia.com