It seems fitting that fish was the main course Friday afternoon.
Amidst torrential down pours, local residents made their way to the Russell Fire Dept. to kick off the annual Jubilee weekend.
For some, it felt like crossing a river just to get there.
"It's a nice night for a fish fry," Russell fireman and Jubilee coordinator Bonnie Schwanke said. "Fish love the rain, so this is perfect weather for some fish."
The annual celebration is the biggest gathering for the fire department, which typically breaks even once the weekend is over.
"We do it for the community," she said. "If we can cover our costs, then I'm the one dancing around here."
Schwanke said with costs of food, beverages and fireworks, the fire department usually does not turn a profit for the event. The cost of fireworks alone runs about $4,000 a year, she said.
It was evident this year, however, that rain was going to play a part in the festivities. Schwanke's husband Dave - chief of the Russell Fire Dept. - had to check out possible flooding problems in Russell during the dinner.
"I'm glad it's indoors," Schwanke said, who added that the rain caused some to miss the dinner while others showed up later in the evening.
Boy Scout Troop 214 of Russell helped at the Jubilee, which has created a close partnership between the troop and the fire company.
"This is our biggest gathering of the year," said Scout Commander Patrick Hamilton. "This is one of our biggest community service event that we will help out with."
Troop members helped at the fish dinner by offering coffee and water while clearing tables between customers.
Hamilton said members of his troop hope to collect enough donations for new tents this year. He said donations to Troop 214 could be made to the Russell Fire Dept. in their name.
Throughout the course of the weekend, the Jubilee will go through 220 lbs. of fish and 500 chicken halves. For the brave that made it Friday, it was well worth the effort.
"We come out here every year," Russell resident Annette Drummond said. "We waited until there was a slight break in the weather to get here this time."
Drummond said she and her husband support the fire department and boy scouts every year; she sad her son was a boy scout when he was growing up, and believes the Jubilee is good way to support the community.
"It's a good program and the food is always great," she said.
The Jubilee continues today with the following events:
11:00 a.m., Jubilee parade down Woodland Drive and up State Street
Noon, BBQ chicken dinners at the Russell Fire Dept.
12:30 p.m., Kid's Olympics at the fire department
1:00 p.m., Tour de Russell bike race
5:30 p.m., Idol singing contest at the fire department
9:30 p.m., fireworks at Larmer Field