The Jackson County Fair kicks off today


Dressed in a worn, white cowboy hat and cut-resistant gloves, J.D. DeVette was ready for a hot day's work preparing for the Jackson County Fair.

Just 50 feet from the swine barn at the Jackson County Fairgrounds and Exposition Park, DeVette and Leon Callahan pulled a 192-pound pig &

charred curlicue tail and all &

from a 500 degrees Fahrenheit barbecue.

DeVette, of Shady Cove, and cousins David and Leon Callahan, both of Medford, volunteered to help Jackson County 4-H participants relax before competition at the fair heated up this morning. The fair continues through Sunday.

"(The pig is) just as good as the ones they have here with 4-H," Leon Callahan said.

The 4-H'ers didn't seem to mind the barbecue's proximity to their potentially prize-winning pigs while they loaded paper plates with Cheetos, potato salad and slices of moist, slow-cooked, luau-style pork.

The yard between the Barker and Krouse barns was the staging area for the precompetition barbecue. Above, a green mister dripped water like a punctured garden hose.

"Fair week is usually the hottest of the year, but it got us last week," David Callahan said.

Unlike previous years, when temperatures at the fair soared in the triple digits, this week is forecast to remain in the low to mid- 90s and high 80s.

Fair Director Chris Borovansky said the more tolerable temperatures may help attendance. But fairgoers should still be prepared for the heat.

"Our primary goal is to make sure that people understand they need to hydrate and that they need sunscreen," Borovansky said.

A first-aid station, manned by emergency medical technicians from Jackson County Fire District No. 3, is available to provide water and any medical help fairgoers may need.

Just around the corner is a "thirst-aid" station, for those who need only a soft drink or water to cool down. There also are smoothie and shaved-ice vendors, and sno-cones are available on the midway. Water misters are provided throughout the fairgrounds.

"Our two concerns are the people and animals and keeping them both cool," Borovansky said.

Borovansky said heat exhaustion isn't much of a problem when temperatures remain constant and people are prepared for the heat.

"The problem is when it goes from 90 to 102. People aren't acclimated," he said.

Borovansky expected to see people using the usual methods to cool down.

"I've seen ice fights and people trying to find the shadiest spot around. They get pretty creative and listen to their bodies," Borovansky said.

Larry Milligan spent Monday inside Compton Arena, setting up hot tubs, a swim spa and an 18-by-30-foot pool from his store, Orley's Stove and Spa Center. He's seen creative ways to cool off, too.

"Last year, a man, about 28 or 29, threw someone in the pool," Milligan said. "It was his girlfriend. She seemed shocked."

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