CRETE - The Saline County Fair got started Wednesday at the Tuxedo Park fairgrounds, and runs through July 21.

It may have fallen on the hottest week of the year.

"It always does," said Jamie Girmus, treasurer of the board of directors for the Saline County Ag Society.

Extreme heat is nothing new to southeast Nebraska this time of the year, and fair organizers are prepared to deal with it.

"We deal with the heat," Girmus said. The (4-H) building is air conditioned, so it's a great respite. We have a lot of water stations and vendors that hand out water during the fair. There's always the concessions and the beer gardens, too."

An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect for all of southeast Nebraska through 7 p.m. on Saturday.

The 4-H exhibit building opened at noon Wednesday, with the Junior Horse Show kicking things off at 8 a.m. Animal entry took place all day Wednesday.

On Wednesday evening starting at 6:30, the Galaxy of Stars talent search gets underway in the exhibit building. Entertainers, musicians and songwriters will have a chance to perform, with three finalists advancing to the talent search semifinals at the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island.

There, the three semifinalists will compete for prizes, cash and trophies, with the overall best vocalist winning a $4500 Nashville recording package.

By Thursday, all buildings will be open at 10 a.m., with the Figure 8 races and demolition derby taking place that night at 7:30.

On Friday, a beer garden will open at 6 p.m., with country star Terri Clark taking the stage sometime after 7:30 p.m. Saturday will be highlighted by the PRCA Rodeo at 8 p.m.

On Sunday, there'll be a premium action starting at 12:30 p.m. with 4-H entries being released at 3.

Jamie Girmus has been involved with the planning of the Saline County Fair for 14 years. She knows people in the area have plenty of fairs to choose from, but the central location and long duration of Saline's fair are major benefits.

"We go for five days pretty much," Girmus said. "We kind of have a longer fair, so hopefully we have something for everyone. The carnival draws good rides. It's central, so I think it's accessible to everyone. I'd like to think we're welcoming."

More complete details can be found on the fair's website.