Keeping cool at the fair

The heat and humidity have arrived just in time for the Lenawee County Fair. And keeping people and the animals cool takes some strategy.
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 6:43 PM EDT
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ADRIAN, Mich. (WTVG) - Christopher Phillips is the Lenawee County Fair Treasurer. He tells 13abc, “Our historic barns lack some ventilation and so we try to have fans in there moving. But if grandparents are in there watching their grandkids for hours on end, they can get a little hot.”

Fairgoers have several vendors to choose from to stay hydrated, or they can bring their own water. But when it comes to the animals, Phillips says, “The 4-H kids do a great job. Every barn has barn hours and chores they have to do, every 4-H’er is a part of that. So, they go in and make sure that the animals are watered and they’re staying cool.”

One of them is Dashel Hayton, who is 8 years old and has chickens in the fair.

“I have to wash them, feed them and water them,” says Hayton of his duties.

He says he’s always keeping an eye on how much water the chickens have in their bowls. Hayton says that he fills the water bowls at least twice a day, and watches for signs of overheating. “They would probably start almost hyperventilating.”

Meanwhile, Gracie Jennings is showing lambs. She says she has a few other ways she keeps her animals cool.

She says, “We have fans that we keep on them during the day. And before we show, we actually put towels on them that were in cold water or ice, and it helps to cool them down to keep them protected from the heat.”

Jennings says that animals overcome by heat won’t show well, and can become sick. So, fans keep the animals cool, and spectators can dress in light clothing. But for the 4-H’ers who are in their jeans and long-sleeve shirts?

Phillips says, “When the kids are done showing, we encourage them to put back on their shorts, take off their boots, get out of those long sleeve shirts, and get themselves under a fan as well.”

“Lots of water! That’s about all you can do,” adds Jennings.

Leaders explain there are fans in place to keep the animals cool, and that there is always a veterinarian on call in case an animal goes into distress.

Phillips also says that hot days usually bring in fewer fairgoers. But a bigger deterrent is rain, and there’s no rain in the forecast until Thursday.

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