Elizabethtown Fair kicks off under near-record heat

Lancaster County, Pa. --- For the 46th consecutive year, the Elizabethtown Fair welcomed passers-by Monday evening.

The first of seven fairs to launch in Lancaster County this year came as temperatures went into the 90s.

Sally Nolt, secretary for the fair, said the temperatures may be historically incomparable.

“I know there was one year, I don’t know how long ago where it was extremely warm but it looks like this might be the the hottest one we’ve had,” said Nolt, with a laugh.

The main concern for the first day: Animals.

Inside petting zoos and shows, sheep, goats, calves and a miniature donkey are all included at the fair.

Deb Schmittel, chairperson with the petting zoo for the fair, said they're giving the animals constant attention to try and keep them cool.

“We’re constantly changing our sides of the tent, up and down, moving things around so that we’re getting good air flow and also keeping shade on every body," said Schmittel.

A group of animals presenting a challenge: Rabbits.

Schmittel said they are more accustomed to indoor environments, as opposed to some of the other animals.

She said they place ice water bottles inside the cages to allow the rabbits to lay on top of them to cool off.

"We just keep watching them and making sure they have plenty of water. I have volunteers going through and constantly making sure everybody’s got fresh, cool water,” said Schmittel.

She explained that if an animal is appearing to hurt in the heat, they bring it to an air-conditioned area and try and hydrate it.

If that doesn't work, she said they will send the animal home for the day.

The Elizabethtown Fair runs through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

It is free admission with $5 parking.

Nolt said the stands are not always open and rides open at 2 p.m.

A $20 ride special goes from 6 p.m. to close.

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