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Jennings Sunday; Hurricane remnants spoil Labor Day festivities

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It was not all fun and games for the people behind the scenes of local festivals in Vernon and Hayden when weather wreaked havoc last weekend.

The Labor Days Antiques and Crafts event, started by the Jennings County Historical Society, has been an annual event in Vernon for 52 years. What started as a Labor Day celebration on the courthouse lawn has become a weekend of food, antiques and collectibles, crafts, art and a county-wide flea market.

As Hurricane Isaac made its way from the Gulf up to the Ohio Valley, dire forecasts of extreme weather for the area took their toll.

“The weather scared a lot of people away,” said Wanda Wright, a member of the Jennings County Historical Society.

Still, vendors and volunteers set up booths and displays between sporadic rain showers in hopes that the event would trump the weather.

In addition to being a fun event for the local community and visitors from across the Midwest, Labor Days Antiques and Crafts is a main fundraiser for the Jennings County Historical Museum.

Because of the storm warnings, this year’s event proved to be less profitable than previous years.

“Total participation was down about 50 percent this year, and our food vendors felt the impact,” said museum spokesman Chris Asher. “It was not a profitable year for the Historical Society, but outdoor events that take place rain or shine are always susceptible to the weather.”

South of Vernon, the Hayden Harvest Past Festival fared a little better.

“We kind of dodged the bullet,” said Patrick Sullivan, a board member of the Hayden Historical Museum. “It rained all around us, but we really didn’t get any rain until 3:30 in the afternoon. We lost a couple events, including the antique tractor parade and a tractor pull, but overall, things went pretty well.”

The Hayden Historical Museum members and volunteers sponsor an annual event to remember Hayden’s past.

“We were steady all day,” said Rodger Ruddick of the Hayden Historical Museum. “It’s not a fundraiser for us. It’s just a time to remember our history and educate the community, but we do accept donations. The money we receive is used to help support museum activities.”

Ruddick said the volunteer fireman’s chicken barbecue was a success. “When I was down there, they had more people eating than I think I ever saw before.”

“Our pie auction and sales went very well. We made over $1,000. That money will go to help pay for the field trips for the kids in the Little Hoosier Historians,” Ruddick said.

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