Rain on early Harrisburg celebrations dampens turnout, but not spirits

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Harrisburg had to pull some strings to have a Fourth of July party, only to have the weather turn sour for the first half of it.

While the drizzle on City Island dampened the turnout, it did little to shake up the spirits of those who came out.

The mantra was simple: The show must go on, with or without the sun.

“I was going to come whether it rained or not,” Sandra Watlington said.

Ask her, and this is just what you do on the Fourth.

“You go to cookouts, and you come down to the river and enjoy the festivities, the music, the great food,” Watlington said while she took cover in a shelter with her granddaughter.

The food, however, certainly didn’t enjoy the rain.

“It’s been awful this morning,” said Alessandro Ricciardi, manager of Philly-based PC Food Service, “But we’re hoping for the best.”

In past years, the company service has seen thousands of customers on City Island. In two-and-a-half hours Saturday, they saw three. While talking to abc27, PC doubles that number with a family of three waiting for food.

But the rain couldn’t last forever.

“We expect it to pick up, especially if we get a little sunshine,” said Harrisburg communications director Joyce M. Davis in the early afternoon. “And we’re praying for sunshine.”

Even without sunshine — or big crowds — the island played host to a celebration.

“I love the Fourth of July as a holiday,” said Andy Hawbecker, who came up from Mechanicsburg. “And I try to come over here all the time. You know, it used to be across the street and now here on City Island.”

For the select few who braved the first drizzly hours of the Fourth, it was all they needed.

“You take life for what it is, you know,” Watlington said. “You enjoy each day like it’s your last and you have fun.”

And a little shelter never hurts.

The City Island festival was set to culminate in a concert from the Harrisburg Symphony in Metro Bank Park at 7:45 p.m.

Fireworks were planned for roughly 9:15.

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