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Saturday, August 6, 2011
Rainy day in Canton

By James Walker

CANTON, Ohio -- It's only fitting that this year's Hall of Fame ceremony will be a damp one. Because, in some ways, the lengthy NFL lockout already rained on Canton's parade.

Heavy rains throughout the afternoon have made Fawcett Stadium and the surrounding areas soggy about an hour before the 2011 Hall of Fame inductions. The incoming crowd is sparse compared to previous years I've covered the event. The lockout forced a cancellation of Sunday's game between the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams, which has contributed to low attendance.

Many of the fans here are wearing ponchos and have umbrellas. The weather is holding up right now, but the forecast says there is a chance for additional rain and perhaps scattered thunderstorms later this evening.

The plan is to carry on the ceremony regardless of rain. Heavy thunderstorms in Canton would be the worst-case scenario. That could force a delay -- similar to a football game.