GOSHEN — The high temperature this week is not stopping workers and 4-H members from setting up and getting ready for next week, but everyone is taking the necessary caution to avoid heat-related illnesses.
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.