GOSHEN — With the heat index nearing 110 degrees through Saturday night, Elkhart County 4-H Fair organizers believe they are prepared to prevent risks to their attendees.

“Hot days are something that we’ve become accustomed to so our buildings have been built with that in mind,” marketing director Kristy Ambrosen said.

Admittedly, the parks and shaded areas were full on Friday, she said, as were the cooling stations.

Former breakfast, lunch and dinner vendor Eastern Star decided not to return to the fair this year, which left an opening during the extreme heat. Visitors to the Elkhart County 4-H Fair can use the air-conditioned facility to eat meals or just to cool off.

“It’s right in the middle of food row, right in the middle of the fair,” Ambrosen said. “It’s a really ideal location.”

Elkhart County Emergency Management is also on site, as it is every year, with a tent on the west side of the fairgrounds. It is contemplating bringing additional tents to be used during Sunday’s parade Ambrosen said.

“Opening day tends to be slow,” she said. “Most people are working. Our first day is usually the day we get our 4-H shows started and open the fair.”

For visitor convenience, there are five air-conditioned locations at the fairgrounds– the Elkhart County Community Center, Goshen Health, the Fair Museum and the Ag Hall are also air-conditioned. There are two misting stations on site, drinking fountains and the Dairy Bar has water bottles for $1. EMS will be on site all nine days of the fair with full staff.

“We feel that we’re providing good coverage for anyone who might need some help,” Ambrosen said. “Even our livestock buildings were built with the idea that air needs to flow and get out of the building. With some of the large amounts of misters in the livestock areas, they’re some of the coolest places to be.”

Capt. Michael Culp with the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office, working from the command center at the fairgrounds, said no heat-related incidents had been reported through late afternoon Friday. 

After this weekend, the weather should cool down, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Kyle Brown.

A cold front is expected Sunday with highs around 86, along with a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms. Still, with dangerously warm temperatures on Saturday, Brown warns fairgoes to take precautions.

Folks attending the fair should take advantage of air conditioning, Brown said, and wear lightweight and light-colored clothing. He added that cars can become lethal in minutes if not properly cooled.

“We always say the elderly could be susceptible, sometimes children as well, but if one thinks it may be unhealthy then Saturday may not be the best day for them, but Sunday looks to bring some good news,” he said. 

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