Sweltering summer heat and the California Mid-State Fair go hand in hand.
“The No. 1 complaint that we ever get at the fair is, ‘It’s too hot,’ “ fair spokesman Tom Keffury said. “There’s nothing we can do to control the weather, so we’re trying to attack (the issue) another way.”
This summer, the fair is introducing a cool new Chill Zone to help fairgoers beat the North County heat.
Located in the Frontier Town section at the southwest end of the fairgrounds, the Chill Zone will keep things frosty with giant Portacool fans, overhead misters and huge blocks of crystal-clear ice.
That ice, provided by Glacier Ice Co. in San Luis Obispo, comes in the form of 300-pound, 10-inch-thick slabs that measure four feet long and three feet wide, Keffury said.
Most of the ice blocks will be stacked like Jenga tiles in big “campfires,” the fair spokesman said, in celebration of the fair’s 2019 camping-inspired theme, “Let’s Have S’More Fun!”
“You can come up to them, you can touch them” and even sit on them, Keffury said, noting that some blocks will be arranged as an icy couch.
There’s also a “giant ice cube” weighing 8.1 tons and standing 7.5 feet tall, he said.
Fairgoers can guess how long it will take for the cube to melt in Paso Robles’ famously warm weather, Keffury said. The winner who comes closest to picking the correct date and time will win $500 and two season passes to the 2020 California Mid-State Fair.
According to Keffury, guessers might face some competition from KSBY meterologist Dave Hovde, who plans to make his own prediction about when the cube will become a puddle.
Entertainment in the Chill Zone includes live painting by street artist ARCY and nightly performances by bands.
Fairgoers can pay an as-yet-unannounced fee to sip beer and gin and rum cocktails in a fully enclosed “ice saloon,” Keffury said. The temperature inside the bar is set to a comfortable 9 degrees Fahrenheit — below freezing.
On the warmer side, the Chill Grill will serve up burgers, fries, bacon-wrapped hot dogs and more.