A 'Hot' Start for the Olmsted County Fair

Created: 07/21/2014 7:02 PM
By: Stephanie Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- Monday was the kickoff of the Olmsted County Fair and it was also the first day this summer we've been in a heat advisory. There were 4H events going on all day while vendors were busy setting up the food stands and carnival rides for Tuesday. We were there to see how they're cooling off on the hottest day of the summer so far.

Sam Reinecke has been competing in 4H for 10 years, so he's used to hot days like this one. "It wouldn’t be the county fair if it wasn't hot or some sort of weather," he joked.

Since Monday's been the hottest day we've seen this summer, it felt pretty sticky, but it could’ve been much worse. "I've been on the fair board since 1992 and we've had weeks where it was in the upper 90's for the whole five to seven days," said Olmsted County Fair Board President Terry Leary.

Even so, it was a hot one and those out at the fairgrounds weren't taking any chances with these temps, for their safety, and for the animals. "I've gotten really sick not staying hydrated and cool. We've had years where it's bad and we've had animals die because of that actually," said Reinecke.

They’re making sure the animals have plenty of water and get cooled off throughout the day. "They’re in barns that are shaded and actually the barns have big fans so we have good air circulation," said Leary.

There are also safety measures in place for fair goers. "We have first aid in the fair office and also in the Graham Arena, and we have the police on site who are EMT's, and actually two of us on the fair board are RN's, and so we have places where people can sit down and cool off and we give them bottles of water," said Leary.

Now that the fair board, vendors, and 4H’ers have checked off those safety measures, they’re ready for a fun filled week, no matter what mother nature brings. "We’ve got the fresh bedding, and their all in their pens, and we've got them all settled in," said Reinecke.

4H events and some food vendors will be open during the day Tuesday, then at 5:00pm, all of the 55 food vendors, 30 carnival rides, and 120 commercial exhibits will be open to the public.

Photo: ABC 6 News