As soon as Saturday night's violent thunderstorms had swept through, O.J. "Chip" Meyer crossed his fingers and sped down Route 530 to see if the tents had held up through winds as high as 80 miles per hour.
"It was intense," Meyer, 42, said. "I was thinking I would come here and find the tents on the ground."
But the tents - anchored by metal beams sunk several feet into the ground at Robert J. Miller Airpark - held throughout the storms.
Sunday it was back to business to ready the clearing at Robert J. Miller Airpark for the Ocean County Fair, which kicks off at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
Workers etched furrows into the sand, laid electrical wires down and covered them. Trucks laden with carnival rides parked side by side. Ocean County Parks and Recreation employees had already trucked in bleachers for the various shows. Food vendors were expected to arrive today.
The Ocean County Fair has been a Meyer family tradition for more than 30 years. Chip's father - the legendary O.J. Meyer - choreographed the annual event up until last year, when he was too ill to continue.
But his wife Kitty, son Chip and other family members soldier on.
"I've been doing it since I was five years old," Meyer said. "I started in 4-H with rabbits and moved up from there. I took it over so my kids could enjoy it. I know I enjoyed it as a kid."
The fair is always held the first week after the Fourth of July, so it doesn't conflict with any other county fairs going on during the month, he said.
The event will feature a variety of programs - Ocean County 4-H animals, two open horse shows, craft demonstrations, children's games and rides, pig races, music and a county fair staple - funnel cakes.
The popular country band "After the Reign" is slated for a three-hour show. The Zuzu African Acrobats from Mombasa, Kenya, who have performed on America's Got Talent and at Disneyworld, will also be on hand.
Tickets for the non-profit event are $6 for anyone 10 and up. Children under 10 are admitted free.
"We're a non-profit," Meyer said. "What we make we put into next year's fair."
The event is sponsored in part by Magic100.1, WRAT 95.9 and a grant from the Ocean County Board of Freeholders.
Berkeley Patch will post each day's events for the length of the fair. The fair will run from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Fair visitors can purchase "pay one price" tickets for $20 for Tuesday and Wednesday. They can also purchase a "megapass" for $40, for rides the entire five days of the fair.
For more information, go to the Ocean County Fair website or call 732-914-9466.