GOSHEN — With the opening of the Elkhart County 4-H Fair only one day away, life has gotten busy in Goshen, according to fair manager Miranda Muir.

“Every day is new and different, everybody is doing their part and it’s amazing sometimes to see how the volunteers come together and get this done,” she said.

Commercial vendors are setting up, as are food vendors and the carnival. Other work in the last few days of preparation includes getting the area for young farmers ready and making sure the IT involved with ticketing is working, said Muir.

“And a lot of clean-up, just making our fairgrounds look sparkly and shiny,” she said.

This will be Muir’s first time running the Elkhart County fair, but that doesn’t mean the concept is new to her. Muir was general manager for the Osceola County Fair from 2013-2018 and has more than two decades of fair experience.

What will be new to everyone, however, is how the opening Friday will run.

First Friday offers cheaper admission at $5, $5 food specials and free Ferris wheel rides from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. There will also be two musical acts later in the day.

With all that, Muir hopes to attract more people for opening day than in previous years.

“We would love to see more people come out and enjoy the fair. We thought this would be a great way to give people just one more cost-effective opportunity,” she said, adding that, though Sunday has free admission, Friday will now be an inexpensive option for people who don’t want the biggest crowd of the fair.

Perhaps working against Muir’s wish of a large crowd on Friday is the weather, which is expected to be extremely warm with temperatures near 100 degrees.

But the fair has a plan for handling that.

“We are definitely advertising our new cooling center that we have, that’s just going to be a nice area for people to go in and maybe enjoy a bite to eat and relax for a minute,” said Muir.

Perhaps more importantly, the cooling center is air-conditioned.

The fair museum also has air-conditioning, as does the Elkhart County Community Center. Muir said there are plenty of water fountains, misting machines and benches in the shade throughout the fairgrounds.

But in case someone should get too warm, the fair is working closely with EMTs and the Goshen Fire Department. Emergency Management is bringing in additional cooling stations, Muir said.

“Everybody can still enjoy the fair but have a space available to them when they need a break,” she said.

In addition to staying hydrated, Muir recommends that everyone put their phones down for a day to come out and be with family and enjoy the tradition of the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.

Follow Rasmus S. Jorgensen on Twitter @ReadRasmus

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