‘Rain Rock’ counted on to help keep NIOSA dry for 50+ years

SAN ANTONIO – There are many Fiesta traditions, from swapping medals to staking a claim on a spot to see the Battle of Flowers Parade, but using the Rain Rock to keep a Night in Old San Antonio dry might be the most eyebrow-raising to people who don’t know the reason why.

The Rain Rock made its debut in 1970 when organizers were concerned that at least parts of NIOSA could be a washout because of storms in the forecast. Naturally, officials were worried that the wet weather would throw a wet blanket on their partying plans.

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But there wasn’t a lot anyone could do to stop the weather if it decided to be a factor. Enter the Rain Rock, though that wasn’t necessarily what it was called then.

With bad-looking clouds looming, organizers hung a rock with a hole in it to ward off bad weather. The weather that followed was beautiful, with no rain in sight, and the tradition of the Rain Rock was born.

The tradition was born from the legend that trail drivers in early Texas would hang a limestone rock with a naturally occurring hole that would keep the rain away. NIOSA’s Rain Rock has been hung up every year since.

“The Rain Rock is a longstanding tradition,” says Patty Zaiontz, NIOSA spokesperson.

As for the Rain Rock’s effectiveness, Zaiontz said she is no expert, but the rock has mostly done its job.

“Well, I’m not a weatherman, and we don’t keep records, but it’s worked pretty much every year,” Zaiontz said.

Trying to keep it from raining might not be the best look in drought-stricken South Texas. However, NIOSA officials say they want the rain to come, too, just not during the evenings of NIOSA.

“We don’t mind rain as long as it stops by 5:30 in the evening,” Zaiontz said.

When it comes to the rock itself, not just any rock will do. Organizers said they use the same one every year.

According to Zaiontz, “[The rock is] a she. We got her years ago. And she has a basket that she lives in year-round, and we bring her out on Monday before NIOSA. Then, come Friday night, she will go back to her basket.”

Yes, the Rain Rock is a “she,” but she doesn’t have a name, just a big responsibility.

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