The Fayette County Senior Fairboard announced Friday that the harness racing scheduled for today has been postponed until Sunday at noon.
According to Fayette County Senior Fairboard President Bob Schwartz, the decision to postpone the races, held annually on the Fayette County Fairgrounds, to Sunday came about when it was discovered the possible heat index for Saturday would be between 105 degrees and 110 degrees. The “heat index” is a measure indicating the level of discomfort the average person is thought to experience as a result of the combined effects of the temperature and humidity of the air.
“The heat index is going to be astronomical,” Schwartz said during an interview Friday. “We thought it would just be best then if we canceled for one day and start it again on Sunday. It is supposed to be cooler and we were worried the heat would not be good for the equine athletes.”
Doug Marine, vice president of the Senior Fairboard, said since Sunday is not an official day of the fair, there is no admission price into the gate for the community to come and enjoy the harness racing. Unfortunately, this also means many food vendors will be moving on to their next fair. Marine did confirm that they offered some of the local vendors a chance to stay open Sunday and sell, but as of press time Friday they had not heard back from these vendors.
“As of right now a lot of the animals already have fans blowing on them, but we need to make sure they get plenty of water,” Schwartz said. “We will continue working to keep them as cool as we can, but getting them out there racing….it’s just not safe for anyone on the track in those temperatures.”
According to weather.com, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued an excessive heat warning for Fayette County through Saturday at 8 p.m. with high temperatures hitting 94 degrees and humidity causing the air to feel much closer to 105 to 110 degrees. The NWS said very little relief is expected with low temperatures (at night) into the middle and upper 70s. This heat has the potential to cause heat stroke, heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses, especially if anyone spends a significant amount of time outdoors or is involved in strenuous activity outdoors.
According to the NWS, to help prevent these illnesses wear light weight and loose fitting clothing, and drink plenty of water. If possible, spend more time in air conditioned or well-ventilated places. Reschedule strenuous outdoor activities to early morning or evening. Friends, relatives or neighbors should check on the elderly and people with chronic ailments, who are usually the first to suffer from heat-related illness.
To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency and those around should call 911.
Currently, Sunday is expected to have a 91 degree high and a 71 degree low with possible late thunderstorms, which should help cool down the area.
Despite the postponing of the races, the final day of the fair will not slow down any as several events will continue as planned. First, the open cattle show will be held at 9 a.m. and the pedal pull — sponsored by Anderson Equipment Inc. — will begin with registration at 3 p.m. and the pull beginning at 4 p.m.
The final event of the night is the Smash It Demolition Derby, sponsored by Rent-2-Own. The derby will begin at 7 p.m. and will include three classes: Street Stock Class, Compact Car Class and a Power Wheels class. A total prize purse of $7,000 is available for the event. For derby questions call (740) 857-2033 and for rules go to www.smashitderby.com.