Watch now: McLean County Fair kicks off with rain and thunder | Local News

BLOOMINGTON — The McLean County Fair opened to waves of participants on Wednesday before a brief rain shower called for quick thinking and impromptu shelter.

McLean County Emergency Management Agency Manager Cathy Beck said no injuries and “not as much damage” had been reported as expected, but many tents had been lost due to high winds.

The National Weather Service to Lincoln issued a stern storm watch for Wednesday evening and a flood watch through Thursday morning for much of central Illinois.

Weather warnings issued for central Illinois counties

“A few thunderstorms this afternoon through tonight will produce one to three inch rainfall amounts over saturated ground,” the meteorologists reported. “A few places that see repeated rounds of thunderstorms may see three to six inch rain amounts.”

According to the weather service, excessive rainfall can cause rivers, creeks, creeks and other low, flood-prone places to flood.

Counties included in the flood watch include Christian, DeWitt, Logan, Macon, McLean, Moultrie, Piatt and Shelby.






The McLean County Fair opened to waves of attendees before a brief rain shower called for quick thinking and impromptu shelter.


D.Jack Alkire



Jeremiah Cox, a member of the fair’s support staff, said he was at the main entrance when the storm hit and saw several tents, trash cans and even a wire mesh fence being toppled as he and others were hiding inside the ticket office.

“No one was hurt and we all waited in this little area until the storm passed,” Cox said. “The last time it rained, it wasn’t so bad.”

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Other workers could be seen picking up poles, rearranging tents and even pouring out residual water from rides like bumper cars and Zero Gravity.

Nathan Ramler, who was at the fair with his son Josiah, said he expected inclement weather, but not as extreme.

Deb Phares said she knew there was going to be a storm but didn’t notice until her son Owen was on the OMG 360 ride when the lighting started.

“I was really impressed,” Phares said. “They shut down the rides, got people off and most of us went to the building where the McLean County beef producers were serving food and having lunch.”

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Although they only attend one day a year, Phares said they will make the most of their day and do as many rides before it rains again.

“Fortunately, it hasn’t rained much here,” said Carl Neubauer, secretary and treasurer of the McLean County Beef Producers. “It cleared us for 15 to 20 minutes. I hope we can have a good evening.

Fair organizers also announced that departures of Big Smokers tractors and local pickups have been cancelled. Carnival rides and concessions are still open.

Lee Enterprise reporters Brendan Denison, Donnette Beckett, D. Jack Alkire and Olivia Jacobs contributed to this article.

Contact Mateusz Janik at (309) 820-3234. Follow Mateusz on Twitter:@mjanik99