Cooler weather moving in for Manatee County Fair

ejohnson@bradenton.comJanuary 17, 2013 

MANATEE -- After a short period of abnormally warm weather and record-breaking temperatures, things should cool down in time for the Manatee County Fair.

"It's going to turn a little bit cooler but won't be terribly cold like we've had years in the past," said Mike Clay, meteorologist for Bay News 9. "I'm sure after our warm spell will be going, 'Oh, this is chilly.' But it's actually normal."

Normal temperatures for mid-January range from the

50s through the 70s, Clay said.

A cool front is expected to move in today, with the Manatee County Fair opening at 5 p.m.

Things will warm up Sunday before more cool weather arrives next week, Clay said.

There is a chance for light rain today and Friday, with dry weather expected through the end of the 10-day fair.

Daniel West, fair manager, could not be happier with the forecast.

"Last year we had great weather. People were wearing shorts and flip-flops," West said, recalling that it rained only one day for about an hour. "We hope to have great weather from now through the 27th. If it does, that would be unprecedented two years in a row."

The Manatee County Fair set a record last year, with approximately 172,000 in attendance, he said.

"We could come close to or break the record," West said, if forecasts prove right. "The whole weather pattern looks similar to last year."

West said in previous years there have been freezes during the fair. When he was a kid, West remembers running to his childhood home near the fairgrounds in "gulley-washing rain."

"I go around town and talk with people around town who always say, 'Fair is coming up, means cold weather is coming,'" West said. "January is one of those months you don't know what you're going to get."

If things are cooler than expected, West said it won't be a problem.

"People almost expect to bundle up a little bit," West said. "Fair food tastes better when you have some cool in the weather. A little bit of cold is just right."

Elizabeth Johnson, Herald reporter can be reached at 941-745-7041.

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