Fair-goers shield themselves from weather, flu

Posted October 15, 2009 5:29 a.m. EDT
Updated October 15, 2009 11:27 p.m. EDT

— The opening day of the North Carolina State Fair brought rain and cooler temperatures. Fair-goers shielded themselves from the elements and also got a chance to protect themselves from the seasonal flu.

“I just don’t think anybody should take chances,” said Sandy Chamblee, who got a flu shot at a clinic at the fairgrounds on Thursday.

Kerr Drug Pharmacist Joe Heidrick said the clinic used the figures from the number of people who got flu shots at the fair last year to gauge the demand this year. He believes the supply can handle the expected demand.

“We expect anywhere from two to 600 people a day and the weather plays a part into that,” Heidrick said. “Weekends are more busy, but we’ve allotted for that amount.”

With the fair expected to draw thousands of visitors a day, organizers are keenly aware of the flu pandemic and are encouraging people to wash their hands thoroughly and often.

“We want to make sure everybody has a health, good time, but we’re also worried about the livestock here, keeping them healthy,” said Brian Long, spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Pharmacists and registered nurses will be on hand to administer the shots through the duration of the fair.

Damp beginning for fair

Light rain sprinkled and temperatures hovered in the low 50s on the first night of the North Carolina State Fair.

More than 80 of the 111 rides had passed inspection and were running. The few that weren’t ready in time for opening, were expected to be cleared for use on Friday.

Temperatures will be higher for the fair's official start Friday, but a chance of rain will linger.

"If we see enough sunshine, temperatures could rush up to near 60 degrees (Friday) afternoon," said WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner.

Fair features reality stars

Those seeking out shows at the State Fair this year will find a reality-show flavor.

Performing Saturday is Kellie Pickler, an Albemarle native who placed sixth during the fifth season of Fox's "American Idol."

Julianne Hough sings Oct. 21. She's a professional dancer who has twice won ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," once with Olympic gold medal-winning speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno and then again with three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves.

The next evening, Oct. 22, Chapel Hill's Anoop Desai performs. He placed sixth on the most recent season of "American Idol."