Praying for no rain

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What a wash.

Last weekend was to be a big one on my arts and entertainment beat: the opening of the SEMO District Fair, the debut of a revamped and renamed River City Music Festival and some nice pyrotechnics downtown thanks to NARS.

Then the rains came. And they didn't stop coming.

It all started Friday, the first day of the music festival, when it seemed like that watery stuff would never stop falling from the sky. It did stop, but never stopped threatening us, so the music festival's outdoor stages were left unused and the action moved inside to Port Cape and the Listening Room above the Garden Gallery.

Saturday was a bit better, but again the rain threatened all day. At the music festival, the action continued, even outdoors, though at least one band, Emaciation, had its equipment fried by a late-night shower just a few minutes into their set. As moderator Doug Fowler told me in e-mails, we're lucky someone wasn't killed by electrocution.

Sunday the threat continued. The fair started Saturday and continued Sunday with few hitches, but crowds were reduced a bit.

Despite all the lousy weather, Cape Girardeau's entertainment community rallied -- volunteers like Bill Shivelbine and Chuck McGinty put their equipment in the line of water-fire to make sure the festival came off, and workers at the fair braved the elements so the courageous few not afraid of a little water could have a good country time.

Sure, there have been a lot of gripes about how the music festival was handled with the rain, but I think it's hard to deny the organizers' determination to salvage what they could out of a soggy weekend.

As for this weekend, the big news is once again the fair. Three concerts are lined up at the grandstand, starting today with country singer Blake Shelton, the guy on the cover of our magazine. Next comes REO Speedwagon -- a band that has generated more fair buzz than I've seen in recent years -- playing Friday night. Texas troubadour Pat Green closes out the grandstand Saturday.

As I type this column Tuesday afternoon I'm looking at the forecast for this weekend, and it looks pretty good. Blake Shelton's performance should be unabated by rain. For REO day Friday, there's a 30 percent chance of isolated thunderstorms, according to The Weather Channel. Personally, 30 percent isn't enough to change my plans.

And Saturday we're looking at little to no chance of rain, but cool temperatures at night for Pat Green. Fall is here, my friends.

So maybe this weekend won't fizzle out. Remember, there's a lot more to do than just the fair, as you'll find when you delve a little deeper into SE Live. Organizers of those events are praying for no rain like I am, I'm sure.

Just be sure to save the rain dance for a little later in the fall. Then maybe we'll all have a good weekend.

Of course, we know what's responsible for the rain: the fair. At least that's the word on the street.

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