Fairgoers Try to Beat the Heat

People attending the Umatilla County Fair on Wednesday sought any method possible to keep cool as temperatures hit triple digits. (Photos: Michael Kane)

From carnival rides, exhibit viewing and headline concerts, there’s proving to be lots to do at the Umatilla County Fair and Mother Nature has added yet another activity – keeping cool.

Wednesday’s temperatures were into the triple digits and today’s high could reach 111. So, how do humans and animals alike keep their cool? That depends on who you talk to.

Alli Vanhouten of Pilot Rock has been at the fair all week. She has a nephew in 4-H. She said it’s important to stay hydrated, eat something cool such as ice cream and stay in shade whenever possible.

“And there’s a nice big fan that spays water mist,” she said. “That’s very popular.”

One of the carnival’s game operators, Kevin, said he’s learned a trick that helps keep him cool.

“I volunteer to get bags of ice for whoever needs it,” he said. “They’re heavy, but they’re also cold, so it’s worth it.”

A giant mist-spraying fan keeps the cows cool in the animal barn.

Patty Strummond came to the fair from Pasco with two of her grandchildren. She said you need to have a cold water bottle with you at all times. She said she gets dehydrated easily in hot weather.

“I also encourage the kids to have a look at the exhibits inside,” she said. “It’s awfully nice indoors.”

Inside the Event Center at Eastern Oregon Trade & Event Center, the air conditioner was running full blast. Hermiston’s Virginia Garcia was sitting at one of the booths enjoying the cool air.

“This is the place to be,” she said.

Over in the animal barns, FFA and 4-H members were busy keeping their animals cool in the heat of the afternoon.

Adriannah Lopez, 12, of Hermiston, is showing her 4-H pig. She said the skin of pigs is more sensitive to heat than other animals.

“We need to spray them down every hour to keep them cool,” she said. “All the animals need to be kept cool, but pigs are really sensitive to the heat.”

The hot weather is expected to continue through Friday, but on Saturday – the final day of the fair – it could feel like a big freeze as the high temperature is expected to drop into the 80s.


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