Forget all that you think you know about local weather during the Kern County Fair.
When your Aunt Geena says fair season is sure to be hot as a DeMolay corn dog right out of the fryer, Geena may be generalizing just a smidge.
But Geena’s not alone. If you live in Bakersfield, you almost surely hear this line repeated each September: “It’s always hot during the fair. Always.”
Not so, according to National Weather Service records.
Contrary to popular perception, normal high temperatures during the annual extravaganza range between about 85 and 88 degrees, with average overnight lows dropping into the mid- to low 60s. Warm at its peak, sure. But not terrible, not awful, by Bakersfield standards.
Take 2014, for example. High temps during the fair’s first seven days averaged just 82 degrees. Triple-digits were a distant and unpleasant memory.
In 2013, a day at the fair must have been a delight, with highs in the 70s and low- to mid 80s through most of the run — until the final day when the temperature climbed to a blistering 91.
People don’t tend to forget weather extremes, said Cindy Bean, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Hanford station.
“It was really hot that one year, and they remember that,” she said.
But Bakersfield is not alone in repeating its weather trope. Fresno harbors a similar fixation.
“People say it always rains at least one day at the (Fresno County) fair,” she said.
So, yeah, it’s pretty clear it’s not always hot at the fair.
But nothing makes a liar out of idyllic weather statistics like sweat on the brow and a wife-beater sticking to the small of your back.
Last year was a bit rough for late September, with each day reaching the 90s during the fair’s first week.
But then it cooled off nicely for the fair’s last five days. And still, no triple digits.
When Aunt Geena thinks of the Kern County Fair, she probably has 2009 burned into her memory. Like a cattle brand.
The first five days were pretty brutal, starting with a high of 102, then dropping to 99 for two days before popping back up to 101 — and then a ghastly 104. Beer sales had to be outstanding that year.
This year looks to be a mixed blessing, with a high of 92 forecast for opening day, before a cooling trend swings temps in the opposite direction with a heavenly high of 75 expected on Thursday. You might think about bringing a sweater if you’ll be on the midway after dark, as it could be breezy.
Unfortunately by Sunday, a spike in temperatures could see the sheep in the livestock barn begging — or baaa-ing — for a shearing, with early forecasts predicting temps in the mid- to high 90s.