A woman offering psychic readings got her start at Idora Park.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
LISBON -- Lemonade and shade were in order as the 161st annual Columbiana County Fair opened at the fairgrounds.
Fair officials were prepared Monday for extreme temperatures and humidity levels, also forecast over the next several days, and both man and beast could be found standing close to electric fans whenever possible.
Keeping cool on the midway under an Ohio State University Extension straw hat was Ernie Oelker, extension agent. He said there has been just the right amount of rain and heat for crops to do well this summer, but less heat this week would be better for the corn and soybean crops that are now pollinating. Less heat would be better as well for fairgoers and their livestock.
He said crops planted early were adversely affected by low temperatures in May, but corn, soybeans and hay are doing well. Hay is ready to be harvested, and there's plenty, he said. Farmers just need the time to take it off fields.
Oelker is conducting surveys for a land-use management study, and hopes many county residents will take the time to fill out a land-use survey while visiting the fair. He said the surveys will be used to create a template for guiding growth in the county.
He said when completed, the plan can be used by county commissioners and others working with private developers, who would then have an idea of what residents think of further growth and where it should happen.
In 4-H barns
In one of the 4-H horse barns, exhaust fans whirred overhead while exhibitors moved horses into their stalls.
Julie Moore, of Salem, and her daughter Brittany Moore, 13, were armed with several bottles of water for themselves as they settled Brittany's horse, Lady, into its stall.
Brittany has shown rabbits as 4-H projects for several years, and ponies in open class. Since the family has horses and Brittany has participated in youth rodeo, she and her mother decided to form a new club for this year's fair -- the Head, Heart and Hooves 4-H Club with all members showing horses for their projects.
Julie Moore said the fans in the horse barns keep horses cool, and owners have to provide plenty of water. She said horse owners often add supplements to water to help horses counteract mineral losses in extreme heat.
Llamas in a nearby tent were keeping cool in front of fans while they watched the first-day activity going on around them.
"It's hectic, as usual," said John Wolf of Lisbon, who is in his fifth year as one of the fair directors. "It's been a busy day, with the typical little problems to work out, but nothing big."
Wolf was moving fans around the llama tent because his daughter, Stefanie, 16, is showing llamas as one of her projects. He said she is also on the junior fair board.
He said everyone knows how to handle the heat and what to expect. Junior fair board members have discussed the possibility of extreme heat and how it affects each species, he said.
"Lots of water, lots of shade, and keep air moving," he said as he moved fans around the llama tent. "Keeping plenty of air moving helps the llamas -- and us."
Amelia Gearhart of Sharon, Pa., a psychic, and daughter Doreen Bellino, of North Lima, equipped their tent on the midway with a card table, several chairs and an electric fan.
Gearhart said her psychic ability is an inherited gift passed from her grandmother and mother, and that Bellino also has it. Gearhart grew up in a storefront on East Federal Street in Youngstown, where her mother offered palm and psychic readings.
Gearhart began doing psychic readings and palm readings at age 13 with her mother from their stand across from the carousel at Idora Park. Her grandmother, Maria, first gave palm and psychic readings at Idora in 1950.
She said her gift is from God, not from demonic forces, where some people believe psychic ability originates.
"There's a line between good and evil, and the Lord showed me this gift was from him, and I had to use this gift of discernment to prophesy and give people counsel and direction," she added.