Photo by Daniel Freel/New Jersey Herald - Beulah stares back at her fans during an elephant show at the New Jersey State Fair/Sussex County Farm and Horse Show’s Family Entertainment Area.
Days of Summer, Day 53: Fitting miniature horses into shrinking fairs
By BRUCE A. SCRUTON
Aug 11, 2013
FRANKFORD — What do you get when you give an elephant a public bath in a thunderstorm?
Well, nobody wanted to find out Aug. 1, the day before the New Jersey State Fair/Sussex County Farm and Horse Show began, so Beulah’s “Power Shower” was moved to Sunday, the last of the fair’s 10-day run.
“It was the first time we had to postpone it,” said Tim Commerford — who later said, “I’m the ‘S’ in sons” — of R.W.Commerford & Sons, the petting zoo consessionaire that has been bringing Beulah to the fair since 1996.
The normal Beulah show is free admission, sponsored by the New Jersey Herald, and done as a promotion for the fair. Sunday’s performance was also done late to provide free admission for those who entered after 3 p.m., to listen to Commerford’s presentation on elephants and see a short performance by Beulah, and a recitation of elephant jokes by the three place winners.
A couple hundred people crowded around the ring where Beulah had given rides to paying customers during the fair.
Commerford said that providing the rides was good for the 12,480-pound, 44-year-old Asian elephant because it gives her good exercise. By the way, Beulah is eight feet tall and 12 feet long, and on her side, would take up the size of a modest bedroom.
“In the wild, elephants travel for miles between watering holes, grazing as they go,” he explained. And the excitement of the fair going on around her provides the mental exercise for the normally intelligent animals.
Commerford was apologetic about the postponement, but explained that to move the elephant when the fairgrounds are open, state law requires a double fence to keep people away, and, he noted, there just wasn’t time to erect such a fence between the horse ring, where the event normally occurs, and Beulah’s home-away-from-home in the petting zoo area. Such a fence would also have cut the fairgrounds in half just when other vendors and presenters needed to be setting up.