Thurston County Fairgoers are looking smart with their hats, water bottles and sunscreen as the heat ramps up this weekend, affecting people and animals alike.
Although forecasters predict a high of 95 on Friday (July 31) and for temperatures to remain in the 90s through Sunday, Theresa Reid, Thurston County Fair event coordinator, said the heat is not a huge concern. Part of the reason is that the fair animals are under constant care and supervision. She said offered the contrasting images of animals out in a pasture or a field and animals under cover, cooled by fans, shade cloth, water and other accommodations at the fair.
“Some of the animals here have more attention than at home,” she said.
The fair even got a sponsorship from the Iron Rabbit restaurant for new fans this year.
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Vicki Powers, superintendent of the fair’s horse department, said extra precautions are taken to ensure the animals’ comfort and safety. She said the horses are hydrated and that there are fans are in operation above most of the stalls.
After every ride, class or event, the horses return to the stalls and drink extra water.
Sometimes the 4-H students will soak the horses’ hay so they get more fluids while eating.
“This is not a normal summer, and the horses have been dealing with this for two months, so they are fairly acclimated to this weather already,” Powers said.
“They’ve been living like this since June.”
Fair attendees, who will need to spend some of their time in the direct sun, might not have it as good. But fair organizers point out they can refresh themselves with snow cones, lemonade, ice cream and other cool items.
There’s also air conditioning in a couple of the buildings, and most of the fair exhibits are under cover and out of the sun.
“Come to the fair and join us. We’ve got a lot of pretty flowers, a lot of pretty horses and we’re having a great time,” Powers said.