It was only fitting. The theme of this year's Montgomery County Fair is "The Year of the Swine," and Mother Nature accommodated the four 600-pound pigs yesterday with plenty of mud to slop and slush in during pig races at the fairgrounds in Gaithersburg.

While the animals felt right at home, most humans stayed home, avoiding the showers that continued throughout the day. Only a "couple thousand" people attended the fair's opening, according to fair spokeswoman Julie Landry. Last year, 6,000 attended the opening. Most of those in attendance huddled under umbrellas or inside the barn where livestock is on display. The week-long fair also features rides, games and entertainment.

The National Weather Service has better news for fair officials and prospective fairgoers. Early morning clouds today are expected to give way to sunshine and scattered clouds, with temperatures in the low- to mid-80s. Temperatures hovered just above the 70-degree mark most of yesterday with .83 inch of rain recorded at National Airport. That brings the total rainfall thus far for August to only 1.16 inches -- about 3 1/2 inches below average for the month, according to forecasters.

Because of the low monthly rainfall total, Wenzel said the rain is a welcome sight, especially to many of the farmers whose livestock or vegetables will be on display at the fairgrounds -- 16 Chestnut St., from 7 a.m. to midnight -- through Saturday. Even though the sunshine is expected to return today, there may be enough mud left on the grounds to keep the hogs happy.