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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Brandon Barker of team New Tech Highlanders launches a pineapple during Catapult Chaos. Contestants built their catapults and then competed in tests of accuracy and distance.
3RF notebook

Rain doesn’t derail food mission

New offerings and old faves draw fans

The women had a mission: German chocolate funnel cake.

The treat is new to the Fort Wayne Newspapers Three Rivers Festival this year, and the co-workers wanted to split one. Gloria Perez kept cool and dry under the Headwaters Park pavilion while Rose Moya headed out to retrieve the cake.

She came back with an elephant ear.

The stand with the new funnel cakes got water in their deep fryer because of the rain, and it wasn’t working, said Moya, from Churubusco.

For what seems like the first time since spring, Fort Wayne was hit with actual rainfall Wednesday and into Thursday.

The city received more than 2 1/2 inches of rain, putting a literal and figurative damper on the Three Rivers Festival. Hot weather and now rain have cut down on crowds this week, says Jessica Sherck, with the Old Fashioned Spiral Spuds booth, who says Thursday was even worse.

“It’s slow,” she said. “It’s awful. The weather’s nice, but business has been awful. The whole week, the (heat) has been our downfall.”

The rain didn’t keep away Courthouse employees Regina Gillum of Fort Wayne and Deb King of Avilla. This was the first day the women could take a full hour for their lunch, and they were not going to let some inclement weather ruin the plan.

“We just didn’t care,” King said. “We look forward to it all year.”

My favorite food

For many Fort Wayne residents, the festival is something they’ve attended regularly since they were a fetus.

Or, in the case of Maelee Pennington, since she was 12 weeks old.

Maelee’s mother, Ashlee Hibbert, of Fort Wayne said Thursday was her daughter’s fifth trip to the festival. Hibbert used to attend with her family every year, and she still looks forward to it, in large part because of the fried vegetables, a pregnancy craving she was finally able to fulfill 12 weeks postpartum.

“I’ve had them every day I’ve been here,” Hibbert said, laughing, as she counts off the days she’s attended: Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. “I think I’ve talked about it for the last month.”

Seth Boyden grew up attending the Three Rivers Festival but now lives in California for school. On a visit back home, he spent a lunch at Junk Food Alley with his father, Andy Boyden. His favorite Three Rivers Festival food? The old-fashioned sodas.

Catherine Purdy of Fort Wayne names the giant tenderloin as her favorite fest food.

“Not just any tenderloin,” she said. “The booth that says ‘giant tenderloin.’ ”

“It’s the size of a Frisbee,” said Andy Boyden of Huntertown. “Frisbee-size me.”