About an hour before SummerFest on the Green was slated to begin, festival organizers assured guests on their Facebook event page that the festival would go on, rain or shine.
Many of the activities were moved inside to Creelman Hall and War Memorial Hall, but the entertainers and their excited fans braved the weather at the outdoor stage on Johnston Green.
Children’s performers, Splash’N Boots, encouraged their young fans decked out in raincoats and rain boots to dance in the rain, while singing songs like “You Are My Sunshine.”
Next up on stage were the White Pine Dancers, a group of First Nations dancers and musicians who shared their history with the audience during their performance.
“SummerFest is a community event that celebrates the many people and cultures that make up the University of Guelph,” said festival organizer Claire Alexander.
“The inclusion of Indigenous teachings into the event through the storytelling of the White Pine Dancers and the clan necklace craft activity is especially appropriate as SummerFest takes place during National Aboriginal History Month.”
Other activities included creating your own slime, square dancing lessons, tasting the University of Guelph’s own vanilla or stout-flavoured ice cream, meeting birds of prey with Wild Ontario, and the Stuffie Wellness Check hosted by the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).
Enise DeCaluwe-Tulk, a first year OVC student and participant of this year’s event, explained that the purpose of the activity was to raise awareness in children about their pet’s health.
Guests would bring a stuffed animal for a walk-in appointment with a vet student to learn about how a vet would perform an examination on the pet and start to help the pet recover.
It continued to rain on and off throughout the day, but that didn’t stop guests from enjoying music by Brave and Crazy, who extended their set for an encore. The cover band noted that they had been playing music together for over 21 years.
A modest crowd formed for the headliner, Hollerado, who performed hits like Americanarama and Juliette. The band paused to tell jokes between songs and even held an impromptu Q and A session in the middle of their set.
“I think the (festival organizers) did a great job,” said SummerFest attendee Emma Currie. “Despite the rain, everyone’s spirits are still up."