Beating the heat at the fair

Ford County Fair V.P. Dallas Meyer takes a break Wednesday morning outside the fair office.

MELVIN – Even though the heat has been the hardest thing to deal with so far at this week’s Ford County Fair, there have been no major hiccups.

“I deal with it by just working in it a little bit then going to cool off,” admits Dallas Meyer, vice president of the Ford County Fair Board.

Meyer believes attendance was down the first two nights mainly due to the heat, although he expected a good crowd for the ride armband special.

“We have midget wrestling coming in tonight and there’s a lot of excitement about that across the county.”

Work at the Ford County Fair started for Meyer when his son was three and he is now 46. He has been on the actual fair board for 32 years.

“Where we show the cattle, that was one of the first things we changed,” Meyer recalled about the fairgrounds.

Restrooms have also been redone in that time and a new building is on the property this year. One thing Meyer has observed is a drop in livestock numbers compared to years ago.

“There aren’t that many people living in the country anymore and all these town boards think you can’t have a couple of chickens or rabbits in town because they make noise or something like that.”

Meyer feels 4-H and the entire fair has been impacted by the drop in livestock numbers. Despite this, the entire Ford County community still supports the fair each year and Meyer is grateful.

Payton Luebchow of Paxton was preparing to show her rabbits Wednesday morning.

“I brushed all of my rabbits then weighed them to make sure they were the right weight, fed some that were underweight and gave them more water,” Luebchow explained.

Luebchow’s little sister has rabbits as well and her parents help out so it is a family effort.

“(Rabbits) have their own personalities and they won’t bite you or anything,” she added.

Across the way, Dayten Eisenmann of Mahomet was prepping his steers for the beef show. He brought three steers to the fair.

“My sister is going to show one and I’m going to show the other two.”

This is always the first fair for Eisenmann who hopes to attend at least three more shows this summer. He’s been showing since he was eight and is now 17. So, how does a fair exhibitor keep himself and the livestock cool?

“We just try to stay in the shade and keep some fans going on the calves, making sure they have plenty of water,” Eisenmann explained.

This week’s coverage of the Ford County Fair on the Central Illinois Farm Network is part of our CIFN Fair Central Tour 2022, sponsored by: Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Soybean Association, Compeer Financial, Miller Farms of Melvin and McLean County Farm Bureau.

Young exhibitors prepare for the Ford County Fair rabbit show Wednesday morning.

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