WRAL.com at the State Fair

Record-breaking heat makes for sweaty NC State Fair set-up

Posted October 10

— The past few days have been hot and sweaty for crews working hard to get hundreds of rides, games and food vendors set up at the state fairgrounds.

Unseasonably warm temperatures combined with high humidity have made for record-breaking warmth in the Triangle, according to WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel.

Overnight low temperatures on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were in the mid-70s, which shattered the records for their respective dates.

“We’re not just breaking the records, we’re blowing them out of the water,”Fishel said.

The low temperature on Tuesday morning was 76 degrees- two degrees higher than the average high temperature for this time of year- and the high of 90 degrees was just one degree shy of breaking the record set in 1931.

From putting together tents and displays to hooking up banners and hanging up all the stuffed animals, setting up for a fair is hard work even when the weather is good but, with the record-breaking heat, it has been miserable.

“It’s been horrific today,“ said Robin Smith.

Smith owns the Gobblin Gourmet and has been coming to the fair for nine years. She said she can’t ever remember such intense heat and humidity in years past.

“We do have air conditioning inside, but most of the work setting up is outside, so it makes it almost heat prohibitive until it’s nighttime,” she said.

Around the corner, Tim Rayworth and some volunteers were putting together a pretty extensive display for the state Parks Department, which quickly became a sweaty job.

“Last year was Hurricane Matthew, so that brought its own challenges. It was kind of wet and soggy, so a different sort of wet and soggy,” he said. “It’s definitely hotter than it was last year or the year before that, that’s for sure.”

Chester Lowder with the North Carolina Farm Bureau was supervising the set-up of several displays at opposite ends of the fairgrounds. He said he sent his employees to lunch early on Tuesday because they were already exhausted by the heat and humidity.

“There’s not anywhere cool right at this point in time because the places that are air conditioned, all the doors are open, so they’re heating up too,” Lowder said.

Lowder said this has been the hottest set-up he can remember in more than 20 years of doing the fair. He said he’s concerned that if the heat sticks around, it may keep people from coming out.

“This is probably the hottest I’ve seen it for a set-up on the fair in my 20 some years of doing this, so it’s going to be a scorcher and it will hold crowds down if it stays like this, even at night,” he said.

Fishel said cooler air that moves in on Thursday will lower the humidity and drop temperatures into the 70s.

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