/Need to beat this heat Boy, does State Fair have an icy solution for you this year

Need to beat this heat Boy, does State Fair have an icy solution for you this year

This September has been the hottest on record. This month, we have experienced temperatures of 94 degrees or higher for 24 days. It’s too hot to watch or play football. It’s too hot to play comfortable golf. There is no relief, at least for this week. Highs of 90 are forecast for Sunday. The Mississippi State Fair starts Wednesday. That’s what is odd. The fair often brings the first whiffs of cool air, and we head to the closet to find a sweater or windbreaker. You can fry eggs on the midway this week. Wednesday’s first day will reach a scorching 97°F. Get out your hot chocolate! The fair might be a place where people bob for apples, but they may just choose to stay below water. Did I mention that no relief is available? Steve Hutton, State Fair executive director, disagrees. Hutton may have had the most innovative idea for the State Fair since fresh cookies and molasses. He is transforming the Mississippi Coliseum to an ice dome in his second year as Fair CEO. The coliseum’s ground has been transformed into an 8,000-square foot ice rink. The Mississippi State Fair will offer ice skating for the first time. Fairgoers can rent skates for 10 dollars per day and get on the ice. You might want to lay on the ice if you’re coming from the midway at noon. Hutton stated that skaters will be given armbands which can be used as an all-day pass. You can go out to enjoy the fair, take the rides, eat something, then return to skate again. In shorts and a Tshirt, you can ice skate. You won’t find this anywhere else. Hutton stated, “That would have been June 5, 2018.” Hutton has a long history with ice. Hutton hosted Christmas on Ice in Madison from 2012 to 2014. More than 100,000 people attended the temporary outdoor rink. Hutton stated, “I had always believed that this would work at State Fair. And we have the perfect spot here in the Coliseum.” The problem is that the coliseum usually hosts at least one State Fair concert every year. Hutton stated, “My thought is that you typically had one concert one evening that attracted about 5,000 people.” “Now, the coliseum will be open to the public for skating for 13 nights and days. Although I do not know the number of people who will be skating, I bet more than 5,000. There will be free concerts outside. Hutton stated that Christmas on Ice in Madison saw an average of 1,700 skaters each day. Hutton expects that the State Fair will attract nearly half a million visitors over the 13-day period. Hutton laughed. He didn’t know that the weather would be so hot when he made this decision. He said, “I guess that we just lucked into that.” Many people will recall that the Mississippi Coliseum was home to the Jackson Bandits minor league hockey team from 1999 to 2003. Hutton stated that the equipment used to ice skate back then has long since disappeared. The Jackson Hockey Club, an association of Jackson-area hockey fans, is still in existence. Tonight’s game will be played on the new ice at coliseum at 9. Marvin Powell, a native Mississippi hockey player, will participate. Magic Ice USA, a Miami-based company, provides the current rink. This company also built Madison’s Christmas rink. The company also offers 800 pairs of rental skates. Hutton stated that Christmas is the most important time of year for the company. I suggested to them that we be set up here when most of their equipment is in storage. Let’s see what happens. I suggested to them that this could bring in more business. “They are basically doing it for us at no cost this year.” To reduce the temperature of the coliseum floor to 20 degrees below freezing, a solution called glycol was applied to the top of the matted floor. Workers then flooded the floor with water, which quickly froze to form a sheet of ice that was five to six inches thick. You can’t even imagine it being 95 degrees outside if you get near it.