At Elkhart County 4-H fairgrounds, workers cautious about the heat
Posted: 07/18/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Sharon Hernandez
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Robert Matejko power washes the Ring of Fire ride at the 4-H Fair grounds 7/17/2012. Rides and games on the midway are getting set up in preparation for the county fair. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Nicholas Van Roya fastens cables as he helps set up the Ring of Fire ride 7/17/2012 at the 4-H Fair grounds. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
A small sprinkler wets down an area on the midway 7/17/2012 during set up for the 4-H Fair. Dry conditions in the county have left most of the fair grounds dry and brown. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Mary Leach (left) and Linda Weltz put out Creative Art entries in the Home and Family Arts building 7/17/2012. The building has 12 fans running to help workers cope with the heat as they set up exhibits for the fair which opens Friday. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Don Mangun power washes a walkway through Heritage Park Tuesday at the 4-H Fairgrounds.
Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen
Linda Weybright cuts entry labels for projects in the Home and Family Arts building 7/17/2012. 12 fans are running in the building to help cool Weybright and other workers setting the building up for the 4-H Fair which opens Friday. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Peter Basson (top) works on the 1001 Nights ride at the 4-H Fair grounds 7/17/2012. Food vendors, ride operators and fair volunteers are setting up for the 2012 4-H Fair. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Patsy Berkey (upper right) looks through a notebook beside piles of Sweepstakes Winner ribbons in the Home and Family Arts building 78/17/2012. 12 fans were running in the building to help cool Berkey and others setting up exhibits for the fair which opens Friday. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Food vendors, fair ride workers and members of the 4-H clubs hustled around the fairgrounds Tuesday afternoon, some setting booths for their exhibitions, others building food booths. Kristy Ambrosen, marketing manager of the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, said it’s not unusual for workers to encounter hot weather like they have this week, but they are taking regular breaks and keeping themselves hydrated.
Workers from North American Midway Entertainment were building up the Ferris wheel and other rides Tuesday afternoon, taking breaks every now and then to cool off. Several misting fans and sprinklers were set up around the rides that were being worked on.
Danny Huston, co-CEO of North American Midway Entertainment, who oversaw the setup Tuesday, said the plan is to work early in the morning and later in the evening. With the necessary lighting, they were hoping to continue working Tuesday evening until 2 a.m.
“Things are going as scheduled and we’re getting along fine, we just changed the layout from last year, we are just looking forward to the fair starting,” Huston said.
The temperature reached 94 degrees Tuesday afternoon, with a heat index of 99 degrees.
Inside the Home and Family Arts building, the temperature was only slightly cooler than it was outside on the fairgrounds. Which is why Joan Bailey, director of the Home and Family Arts Department, said everyone was watching after each other while members set up booths and exhibitions.
“We’ve been here since eight in the morning,” she said. “We’re making sure everyone has enough water, we have a dozen cooling fans running and if we are feeling like someone is needing a break, we tell them to do so.”
Ambrosen said one of the biggest concerns for the fair is the how leaders and 4-H members will help their animals deal with the heat. Particularly small animals. She said many members will bring their animals in the morning to have them adapt to the place and reduce the stress.
Jennifer Fry, 16 and Sydney Sommer, 13, said they are planning to bring their projects —cows and horses— in early and they also plan on giving them enough water and attention throughout the week.
Sommer, who plans to bring three horses, said because the horses are placed in an enclosed area, members are allowed to bring fans. She said she also plans on hosing the horses every four hours.
During the fair, starting Friday, misting tents will be set up and visitors will be shown what buildings on the fairgrounds are air conditioned, which include the 4-H offices and the Elkhart General Hospital and IU Health Goshen Hospital tents.
According to the National Weather Service, the rest of the week will cool down and Friday, the first day of the fair, the high is expected to be of 87 degrees.