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Holiday brings rainy revelry

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While plans for fireworks on the Fourth mostly fizzled, many local celebrations carried on despite heavy rains

By Alice Du Pont

Like the nursery rhyme says and what many people in this area were probably thinking last week: “Rin, rain go away come again another day.” The rainfall started July 2 with what appeared to be the usual summer afternoon showers that are a part of the summer landscape in this part of Florida. 

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But to the dismay and displeasure of many, the afternoon showers turned into what was initially called by weather experts a “soaking rain” into a steady rain. It lasted all day July 3, and as the day dawned July 4, people started looking skyward. City officials in Greensboro, Chattahoochee, Midway and Quincy began monitoring the news and weather and wondering if they would have to cancel firework displays for Independence Day.

Quincy’s Annual Horseshoe Tournament went on as planned and the Greensboro’s July 4 also went on with a few minor changes. There was, of course, the marshmallow pie-eating contest, water balloon throw and other children’s games. Despite the rain, the fireworks display went on as planned

The rain didn’t dampen spirits in Midway, either. Despite the fact that water pooled on top of the large tent they used to cover the picnic area, which had to be periodically dumped, Councilman Charlie Smith and citizen Sam Stevens grilled hamburgers.

“We held the watermelon eating contest and the fireworks were great. People had a good time in spite of the weather,” said City Manager Auburn Ford.

 Early morning showers gave way to overcast clouds but that was just the opportunity that a couple of hundred people needed to attend Havana Water Day and Sidewalk Sale in downtown. Brett Wellman and Chris Balding took out their guitars and entertained those who decided to stroll the streets looking for bargains or walked their dogs. But only a kids took advantage of the waterslide. Merchants, like Ingra Battles and John Langan of Miss T’s Sets on NW First Street decided to hold their sidewalk sale inside while Gregory Jubinsky had a good day selling his heirloom organic vegetables and herbs. People also enjoyed the roll back in prices since almost all of the street food was only 50 cents.

Throughout the county, many people who had planned cookouts went on with their plans. While few people braved the rain, grills were emitting smoke as if no rain was falling. 

“I’ve seen quite a bit if smoke in Quincy, so I suppose people are checking on their grills and going back into the house,” said Quincy City Manager Jack McLean,” as he stayed through the rain to watch the horseshoe tournament. 

By late afternoon of the Fourth, Quincy officials called off the live entertainment and fireworks display scheduled for 9:30 p.m. McLean said the contract with the pyrotechnic company allows the cit six months to put on the show planned for the Fourth of July celebration. Chattahoochee also decided against the fireworks display and plans haave been made to use them for the annual Boat Races on the River in August. 

Rainfall in Gadsden County was measured at about 8 inches, according to the National Weather Service, with some spots in the county likely receiving more or less rainfall. Surrounding counties, such as Leon, recorded up to 12 inches of rain over a four-day period.

Gadsden County Administrator Robert Presnell said the only damage in the county was limited to a few downed trees but none threatened life and caused only minor property damages.

“We were very fortunate. I haven’t heard of any major damages from fallen trees or anything like that,” Presnell said.

Quincy’s Public Works Director Willie Earl Banks said crews responded to two downed trees on Cooper Street that damaged a fence and another in the 700 block of West Washington Street at a vacant house.

A small tree fell across the eastbound lane of U.S. Highway 90 in Midway, but crews made quick work of cutting it and removing it from the right of way.