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Rain washes away pet parade at Windmill City Festival

BATAVIA – With half a dozen demonstrations scheduled Saturday afternoon at the Peg Bond Center, Julie Saloga of Batavia was hopeful more people would attend the Windmill City Festival throughout the day.

"It's getting busier," she said around noon.

Morning rains not only washed away visitors but also prompted organizers to cancel the 10 a.m. pet parade – the first such cancellation in at least seven years, said Kari Felkamp, director of marketing for the Batavia Park District.

"It was pouring," Felkamp said, recalling how she and two others took shelter under a tent on the festival grounds in downtown Batavia.

Festival staff monitored the weather throughout the morning using smartphones, Felkamp said.

Saloga – a craft show and flea market vendor – also tracked the radar on her phone and let fellow vendors know when they could expect the rain to ease, she said.

"Thankfully, we have product that can be out rain or shine," Saloga said of the garden spinners she and her husband sell at their store, Windmill City Spinners & More Decor.

Other vendors, however, packed up when the rain hit, Saloga said.

"There's only seven of us," she said, noting there were supposed to be about 30.

As the weather cleared, Saloga hoped more vendors would decide to resume business. She said the day's scheduled events – including a fencing demonstration and dance performance – likely would increase attendance.

Saturday normally is Windmill City Festival's busiest day, Felkamp said. In addition to the main stage events, activities included a whiffle ball home run derby, a diaper derby, live band karaoke, a bags tournament, carnival rides and live music.

Although Saturday's rain dampened turnout that morning, Felkamp noted good turnouts for Thursday and Friday.

Organizers last tried a Thursday opening night in 2008, Felkamp said, but it got stormed out. This year, she said, the Batavia Chamber mixer brought a lot of people out Thursday, which saw about $3,500 in beer sales.

Windmill City Festival continued Sunday with an ice cream eating contest, a fire hose challenge and, among other activities, live music.

The Windmill City Festival committee includes representatives from the Batavia Park District, Batavia Chamber of Commerce, Batavia Depot Museum and the city of Batavia.

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