Foul-weather fair

High winds and rain presented problems for Wednesday’s Trumbull County fair, as many of the event’s attractions were called off.

The large thunderstorm which rolled across Trumbull County dropped almost 4 inches of rain on the fair’s participants and spectators by 5 p.m.

As a result, officials with the fair said the second day’s primetime event, the late-model dirt auto race, was moved to 2 p.m. Sunday.

Mel Liddle, one of 15 directors for the fair, said no decisions have been made about today’s racing events. The fair board meets at 11 a.m. every morning to decide the day’s plan.

“With this much rain, I don’t know what’s going to happen with that yet,” Liddle said. “We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to evaluate that. I just don’t know.”

In addition, the rides were closed, and many of the vendors shut their doors for the night when the rain, wind and lightning really began to pick up.

According to Dave Lynn, vice president of the Trumbull County Fair Board, the rain made parking very difficult. Normally, visitors would park in large fields around the Trumbull County Fairgrounds, but the rain-soaked and muddy ground prohibited that method in many areas.

As a result, officials allowed patrons to park their cars at TCTC and rented buses to bring them to the fairgrounds. Lynn said the buses will likely be available today, as well.

“We’ll probably start right off doing it tomorrow,” Lynn said Wednesday evening. “Today, we didn’t start doing it until around noon, but it is almost a given we’ll be doing it all day tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, the downpour resulted in several other practical problems, including tents blowing over and other minor structural damage.

The fair was able to conduct the hog show, according to Monica Culp, 4-H adviser for the Trumbull County Youth Boosters. But, potential power outages threatened that event, as well.

“We did have a couple of flickers a short while ago,” Culp said. “We had some surges and we all are just holding on and hoping the power stays on, because obviously we couldn’t show the hogs without the power on in that building.”

As of 7 p.m., the hog show was still in progress. It was likely to continue for several more hours.

Culp said there are concerns when it comes to young children handling large animals on soft, muddy ground.

“Animals really don’t like soft ground, so when they sink, they tend to get a little spooky,” Culp said. “You just have to try to make little ditches to get the water draining down into the ditches. Hopefully, the sun starts peeking through here a little.

“We’d like to see it come out and maybe dry us out by tomorrow night. We want to have a good rest of the week,” she continued.

Gustavus resident Steve Logan has two children participating in today’s scheduled 4-H Junior Fair Dairy Show. He isn’t expecting the rain to play a major issue.

“We’re just trying to keep dry right now,” Logan said. “Typical Trumbull County fair so far. It was 85-degrees, hot and humid, and then it rains.”

His boys, Zach, 13, and Matt Logan, 10, used Wednesday night’s soggy conditions to prepare their cows for the big show.

“When you go into show, we clip them in a special way. Basically, like if you were going to your wedding, you’d want to get spruced up a little bit too. That’s kind of what we’re doing here.”

Meanwhile, Johnston’s Donna Jean Deemer and Cortland’s Melanie Vecchio maintained one of the few vendors which stayed open through the rain and wind. Their dairy bar has been in operation at the fair since the 1950s, serving milkshakes to hungry customers.

Deemer, who has been manning the bar for the last 10 years, explained they did close for about two hours when lightning was bad, but reopened later in the evening.

“This is the worst we’ve ever seen,” Deemer said. “We’ve never actually had to shut down like this before. We usually are able to keep going, but the lightning was so bad, for the safety of the workers, this is the first year we’ve actually stopped production.”

Vecchio is expecting Thursday to go much more smoothly.

“We heard tomorrow is supposed to be really nice,” Vecchio said. “On good days, we will have a line of people going way back.”

The fair is set to begin at 9 a.m. today with several 4-H events. A beef and cattle show is scheduled for 3 p.m., while a 6 p.m. auto race is the featured event.