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Rain changes plans at Roanoke Fall Festival

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THROW: A Fall Festival attendee takes his shot at a football toss in the Kid Zone.
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BALOONS: Attendees also enjoyed balloons from the Joy Pleasers Clown Ministry.
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EAT: Participants in the pie eating contest for the 6-11 age group take their shot at winning Thursday evening.
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DUCKS: A young Fall Festival attendee stops at one of the kids activities in the Kid Zone Thursday evening.
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PETS: The Pet Parade brought all sorts of pets to the festival – from rabbits, to catsand dogs.

BY HEATHER COX - hcox@h-ponline.com

The rain came and stayed this weekend, but the Roanoke Fall Festival pressed on.

Fall Festival Marketing Chair, Sierra Dinius, said the attendance did suffer this year since the bad weather rolled in during peak hours of the festival, but it went as well as it could with the rain.

“There was still entertainment every night and kids activities that weren’t affected by the poor weather,” she said. “We tried to be as flexible as possible, but sometimes the best planning is no match for perpetual rains.”

Due to not having indoor space, Dinius said they were limited to what they could do, especially since they had different types of entertainment already booked under the main tent. They did make use of the space they had, though.

“We did bring the kids games in under the main tent Saturday morning to provide activities for families to come down and enjoy before the cake auction and Indiana Wild needed the tent in the afternoon,” she explained.

The entertainment that had been booked ahead of time was still able to perform under the main tent as well, providing music for attendees. Dinius said they had to adjust the Indiana Wild presentation due to flooding, but besides that, everyone was on time and gave great performances.

Indiana Wild, a non-profit center that aims to increase animal awareness and education, brought rescued animals like snakes, ferrets and a bearded dragon for children and adults to hold and touch.

When it came time for the parade, Dinius said the parade organizers, American Legion Post 160, waited until the last possible minute to make the final call but the weather ended up making conditions unfavorable causing the parade to be cancelled.

Despite the rainy weather, some activities still brought in crowds to take part and enjoy, including the Ducky Run. Dinius said the Lions Club was still able to throw ducks in the creek as scheduled.

“The Cake Auction brought in a really good crowd as well as the Bulldogs band Saturday night,” Dinius said. “It was a really great sight to see the kids playing with the Indiana Wild animals as well!”

The community was also able to enjoy a dry start to the festival on Thursday evening.

Many gathered for the pie eating competition, pet parade and activities in the Kid Zone.

Gene Browning attended the festival on Thursday to watch his granddaughter, Kelli Kreider and great-grandsons, Cole and Kayden, in the pet parade. He said he doesn’t live in Roanoke but lives nearby and enjoys coming to the festival to watch the kids have fun.

When it comes to holding the festival next year, Dinius said she hopes she gets to be on the board for her second year.

“It was an amazing opportunity, and it is something that not many people think about – the behind the scenes – but it is an awesome process and I met so many great people this year doing it,” she said. “I think our main hope is no rain!”