Heavy rain and lightning forced players off the sand at the HOPE Volleyball Summerfest Saturday for the first time in the event's 26-year history.

The conditions sent 25,000 people scrambling for cover and turned the courts at Mooney's Bay into swamps. Concerts continued and the beer taps remained open, but volleyball was cancelled at the popular charity event that has raised $3.5 million for more than 110 charities over the years.

"The courts are soaked," said executive director Gayle McClelland. "The grass courts are slippery. The sand courts are muddy. We just needed to make sure first and foremost that all the participants are safe."

Organizers still believe that each of this year's six charities will receive $25,000.

"I think it's better than playing in the sun because we're not getting burnt and dehydrated," laughed Julie Collin.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Jonathan Rotondo