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Wet weekends put a damper on events and plans across region

Heavy rain forced fans to find shelter during a recent weekend game between the Red Sox and Orioles.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Roslindale Porch Fest was postponed by a week. Family Day at Cambridge’s Danehy Park was canceled. A new date has yet to be announced for a scuttled end-of-summer block party in Roxbury.

And that was just last Saturday, part of a dispiriting stretch of rainy weekends in the Boston area over the past four months that conspired against all manner of summer plans and seems reluctant to give way this fall, with a fair chance of rain this Saturday as well.

As the Boston area endured its second wettest summer on record, with flash floods becoming alarmingly routine, organizers spent the season rescheduling events — sometimes two or three times — because of the weather. Improbable as it seems, from Memorial Day weekend through September, there were just five “precipitation-free weekends” out of 17, said Alan Dunham, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norton.

“Every other weekend had at least a trace of precipitation,” he said.


Boston has received about 40 inches of rain so far this year, compared with about 31 inches in an average year and just 20 inches by this time last year, according to the weather service. Beyond that, the rain’s mocking insistence of falling on weekends is just a coincidence, he said.

“That’s just the way it worked this year,” Dunham said. “This happens to be a wet year. The last couple of years we were talking droughts during the summer.”

Last weekend’s dark, rainy weather has helped drive attendance at The Big E in West Springfield down nearly 20 percent from last year, according to Eugene J. Cassidy, chief executive of the fair, which runs until Oct. 1.

“We had a string of really bad weather Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, which obviously has a major impact on attendance,” Cassidy said. “I will say, though, there were considerably more people on the fairgrounds than I would have anticipated. It speaks to people’s desire to be out together and be in the fair environment.”


There’s also been less apple-picking so far at Russell Orchards in Ipswich, where inclement weather earlier this year reduced the yield of a few crops, said Miranda Russell, who owns the farm with her husband, Doug.

“We have farming operations, which get impacted by drastic weather, and then we have a retail operation, which gets impacted by unpleasant weather,” she said. “People don’t want to come out to the orchard . . . if it’s raining, or threatening to rain, or blustery, or hurricane winds.”

The weather has also affected farmers’ markets and outdoor fairs, including PVDFest, Providence’s annual art, music, and food festival, where thousands of dollars of merchandise was damaged by downpours on Sept. 9 and 10.

A man braced himself as he walked into the wind at Chapin Memorial Beach in Dennis. Winds reached up to 60 miles per hour as Hurricane Lee made its way up the coast. Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Makaila Cerrone, 26, who teaches American history at Revere High School and has a side business making artisanal candles, said she had planned to sell her work at Boston-area outdoor markets the past two weekends, but both were scratched because of the weather.

“It’s been moved to the 30th,” the Brookline resident said of one market. “Hopefully that doesn’t get canceled. ... I haven’t been able to do a market in a month or so.”

Fingers crossed. On Thursday, the National Weather Service forecast called for a 40 percent chance of rain in the Boston area on Saturday, mainly before 11 a.m.


Cerrone said the weather has also forced the cancellation of football and soccer games and track meets at Revere High School, as well as some Hispanic Heritage Month events around Boston.

“The weekend before [last], there was supposed to be a bunch of stuff on Saturday at City Hall Plaza, and they had to move it to Sunday,” said Cerrone, who is looking forward to an October trip to sunny Puerto Rico, where her family is from. “It was still nice, but I’m sure it definitely affected the turnout. I know certain food trucks and things couldn’t come on the rescheduled date.”

With so many organizers looking for new dates, any weekend day with good weather quickly fills up with competing events, said Cerrone, who is triple-booked with different events for Saturday.

The weather has also meant less business for restaurants and retailers in downtown Boston still recovering from pandemic losses, according to Michael J. Nichols, president of the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District, which has canceled multiple outdoor musical performances in recent months.

“Foot traffic for the neighborhood had been running about 15 to 18 percent ahead of 2022 — until we hit the rainy summer stretch,” Nichols said. As a result, there was a “meaningful reduction” in day-trips and commutes to Boston, he said.

Nichols, an avid golfer, said the rainy weekends have affected him personally, too.

“Rain and golf don’t go hand in hand,” he said.


Last weekend, the Cedar Grove Civic Association in Dorchester moved its Fall Harvest Festival indoors, and the South Boston Street Festival was postponed for the second weekend in a row. It is now set for Oct. 7.

In Somerville, the annual Fluff Festival was moved from Saturday to Sunday, when it went on despite a short downpour.

Kids jumped on a mini trampoline at the Fluff Festival at Union Square in Somerville on Sept. 24.Tanner Pearson For The Boston Globe

“It rained for about an hour, but people were out and about, and they seemed to have lots of umbrellas, and they seemed to still have a great time,” said Gregory Jenkins, executive director of the Somerville Arts Council, which organizes the festival in cooperation with Union Square Main Streets.

“Definitely turnout was less than previous years, so some of the vendors probably didn’t do as well,” Jenkins said. “Sadly, it disrupted one of the bands. It’s just a lot of angst to constantly worry about whether or not the weather is going to be kind.”

Somerville resident Chad Boudreau, 39, said he and his partner went to the Fluff Festival but stayed only about 45 minutes, instead of the two or three hours they might have spent on a sunny day.

“It wasn’t torrential rain, but it was enough that it was not pleasant at times, for sure, waiting in line,” he said.

Boudreau, an avid cyclist, likes to take weekend rides of 30 to 140 miles, but those have also been affected by the weather, he said.

“The rain is a total bummer on that, just because it’s cold, and it’s not as enjoyable, and it’s also a bit more hazardous,” he said. “It’s a little more stressful riding a bike in the rain.”


Local cyclists have watched as a September biking-and-birding event cosponsored by the Boston Cyclists Union and Mass Audubon was postponed by a week and then canceled, and as last weekend’s planned celebration of the new bike lanes on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston was moved to next Sunday, said Mandy Wilkens, a spokesperson for the Boston Cyclists Union.

Wilkens, a guitarist in a punk band and a heavy metal band who uses they/them pronouns, said they have recently played in two outdoor shows that went on despite the rain.

“We’ve got to get used to this,” Wilkens said. “This is the reality of climate change, that we’re going to be seeing more extreme weather. So it’s, like, how do we adapt?”

This weekend, Wilkens is scheduled to perform in another outdoor show, but there’s a 40 percent chance of rain on Saturday. Again, fingers crossed.

Women waited in the rain Downtown Crossing in Boston in July.Vincent Alban For The Boston Globe

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at Follow him @jeremycfox.