PARKERSBURG - Rain impacted the annual Parkersburg Ice Cream Social in downtown Parkersburg on Sunday, but people still came and had a good time, organizers said.
People began coming to the 10th annual social held at Eighth and Market streets starting at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Children enjoyed inflatables and a small petting zoo while others enjoyed face painting and other activities. The whole time people were able to get a number of grilled hot dogs and many people enjoyed a variety of ice creams from Broughton's.
Andrea Wright, of Des Moine, Iowa, shares an umbrella with family, including her 2-year-old granddaughter, Ainsley, at the Parkersburg Ice Cream Social on Sunday. Rain impacted the annual event at Eighth and Market streets in downtown Parkersburg. (Photos by Brett Dunlap)
"We are using this event to raise awareness of Parkersburg Urban Ministries," said the Rev. Rich McClure, pastor of First Baptist Church at the corner of Eighth and Market streets. "We use this event to raise funds to help them help the needy."
Even as it was continuing to cloud up late Saturday afternoon, McClure said the weather would impact attendance. They could have over 700 people if the rain held off or could have around 250-300 if the clouds let loose, he said.
Unfortunately just after 4:30 p.m., heavy rains hit and caused a number of vendors to pack up and sent those in attendance scattering for shelter.
"The rain did hurt attendance," McClure said.
As heavier rains began to hit in the early evening, organizers moved people into First Baptist Church.
"We were able to handle the 100-150 people who were here," he said.
As the rains died down, another 50-75 people came to help finish out the evening.
"Those who stayed had a good time," McClure said.
A cake walk was held where 30 different vendors, businesses and individuals donated cakes.
People were asked to make a small donation, if they were able. That money went towards the programs put on by the Parkersburg Urban Ministries.
McClure hoped the event raised an awareness of those in need locally. By giving a donation for some ice cream or other goodies, people were helping others.
"They can jump in and help and this is a vehicle where they can do that," McClure said. "Many people are here for the social contact, seeing neighbors and building community.
"We are proud to be a part of a community that cares for others."
Parkersburg Urban Ministries helps with a variety of needs, said its director, the Rev. Lisa Taylor. People have gotten assistance to help pay utility bills. The ministry always asks what the person is able to do themselves and provides what assistance it is able to.
"Above all, we offer people prayer," Taylor said. "We do pray for these people."
Taylor was glad to see so many people come out.
"I think it is a great opportunity to come out and meet friends and neighbors throughout the community," she said.
Regardless of how the rain impacts the event, the Urban Ministries will continue on.
"A little bit of rain never hurt anyone," Taylor said with a laugh.
Kevin Haught, of Parkersburg, had family performing at Sunday's event and brought his own kids down for some fun.
"Besides the rain, it has been great," he said. "The rain has cooled it down a bit."
Andrea Wright, of Des Moine, Iowa, was in the area visiting family who were involved in the social.
"I came out with my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter," she said. "It is a little damp, but it is still a lot of fun.
"We have gotten to see people we haven't seen in awhile."
Jenni Ward, of Marietta, is a member at First Baptist Church and made cakes for the cake walk.
"We have friends here and we came out for fun," she said. "I think there are still a lot of people here for having pouring rain. That's good."
McClure said there was still a good turnout and they are looking forward to next year.
"We'll be at it again next year," he said.