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EARLIER: Fair time is hot time

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By Todd Martin

The Shelby County Fair means funnel cakes, sodas, tilt-a-whirls and livestock shows, but it also means it’s June, and summer weather is here to stay. With temperatures rising and humidity pushing the heat index into triple digits, fairgoers need to be careful as they enjoy all midway rides and exhibits. So far this week the heat index has registered as much as 103, with actual temperatures well into the mid 90s. Spring seemed to end as soon as the calendar hit June. According to Accuweather.com, temperatures have been as much as 11 degrees higher than normal. In the first 14 days of the month Shelbyville’s temperature has averaged 88 degrees, six degrees higher than average. But the most damaging weather may be at night. While temperatures normally dip into the low 60s, cooling the area off at night, the average so far this month has been a balmy 71, almost 10 degrees higher than normal. In fact, for the last four days, the nightly low hasn’t been below 73. Randy Tennill, the Shelby County A&M Association president, said he’s not worried about the heat running off attendees when fair opens Thursday for its 10-day run. “It’s always hot for the fair,” he said. “And everything starts kind of later in the afternoon, so hopefully it’ll cool off a little.” Tennill was also quick to point out that patrons can cool down and see some exhibits in Floral Hall. “We’ll have the AC on in there,” he said. “It’s open every day so people can go in there and cool off and use the bathroom.” Watch for signs However, if you do feel zapped by the heat, the EMS will be present to help. “Along with doing rolling patrols, we’ll have our EMS treatment trailer there at the front where you come in,” EMS Chief Todd Early said. “We’ll be there to answer any questions or help if you or someone you’re with doesn’t feel right.” Early recommended trying to limit time in direct sunlight and, of course, drinking plenty of water. The main things to look out for, he said, are:

  • Cramps in main muscle groups.
  • Headaches.
  • Changes in mental status, being confused.
  • Becoming light-headed or dizzy.
  • Profuse sweating turning into a lack of sweating.

“Try to monitor your time outside and work load, especially high risk groups like senior citizens, people with diabetes, young children and anyone who’s had a heat-related injury before,” he said. “But if you feel sick, call us, call 911, that’s what we do. If we catch it early, we can usually fix you up right there.” The best indicator, he said, comes in the bathroom. “If, when you urinate, it’s clear, that means you’re probably taking in enough water,” he said. “That’s one of the first things we’re going to ask you.” Big fair expected Weather aside, Tennill said the Fair Board is expecting a banner year for the 148th edition of the Shelby County Fair. “With economy down and more people staying home in the summer, we expect better attendance than normal,” he said. “I think the new rodeo is going to be one of our better assets, and we’ve added a couple new rides this year. “One thing people asked for is more rides for kids 10-and-under, so that’s what we’ve done, and I think people are really going to like them.

“Plus, there are a lot of more entries in the dairy and cattle shows, and there’s pretty much anything you want to see in the livestock shows.”