The rising mercury is a sign that the California Mid-State Fair is about to begin in Paso Robles, where a new attraction will offer fairgoers a reprieve from the heat.
About 200 crew members were on site Monday getting the fairgrounds ready for the 74th annual event, which begins Wednesday.
“We’re trying to embrace the hotness of the fair head-on and beat it at its own game,” Mid-State Fair Spokesman Tom Keffury said.
The Chill Zone on the fair’s southside is an area designed to help fairgoers cool off.
“Ice sculptures, misters, cooling fans, a fully enclosed 40-foot ice bar and a giant eight-ton ice cube,” Keffury said.
The ice cube is also a chance for people to win $500 if they can guess the amount of time it takes to melt.
The ice saloon features a bar carved from ice, complete with an ice carving of a horse head.
People aren’t the only ones needing a break from the heat.
“We have llamas, alpacas, miniature donkeys, goats, sheep,” Great American Petting Zoo owner Pamela Jayger said.
The animals in the Great American Petting Zoo are no strangers to warm weather. Though the petting zoo is on the road from Texas, climate control is still essential.
“We have fans and misters going in the petting zoo, so it’s really quite enjoyable,” Jayger said.
The cool-down strategy is one that’s only improved as the fair has grown over the years.
“In 1946, we were across the street closer to the railroad tracks and the fair was one tent,” Keffury said.
That inaugural year, the fair saw 20,000 visitors. This year, more than 400,000 people are expected to come through during the 12-day event.
In sync with this year’s theme “Let’s Have S’more Fun,” the fair is hosting a campfire show and educational program for children to learn about rattlesnakes and other dangerous creatures.
Children can ride all rides for free with the price of entry on opening night of the fair.