I've never been one to get excited about food at the fair. I don't know why, but there are many who can hardly wait for the fair so they can taste all the new goodies that are available. Admittedly, the smells make everything so tempting and never fear, there will always be a many new items available to try each year.
Pronto pups are my failing. I still get hungry for them from time to time. My mother remembers when they first came on the fair scene years ago when she was a 4-H’er and went to the Minnesota State Fair. The kids all loved them then and still do today. They were probably 20 cents apiece back then, and they were just a plain ordinary "pup." Since then they have been lengthened and been jazzed up a bit, but the plain ones, with a little bit of ketchup, are still my favorites. My mother on the other hand likes hers with mustard. And of course, there are other people who can hardly wait for the fair each year so they can have a foot-long hot dog.
Yes, we can get pronto pups in the grocery freezer section, but they just don't taste the same as those that come fresh out of the big deep fryers. Foot-long hot dogs probably were born at the fair, but now the supermarkets have them available in the meat department. Many foods we take for granted at the local stores now got their start at the fair.
I still have visions of people going around chewing on a turkey leg like so many cavemen did many, many years ago. That has never been anything I would get hungry for, let alone try and eat as I am walking around the fairgrounds. Is there anything tougher than trying to eat a turkey leg full of bones like sharp needles and skin so tough it makes it hard to chew? But they do look and smell tempting.
Many churches and fraternal organizations still offer those good old home style foods. They have fresh waffles and pancakes hot off the grills available for breakfast, as well as serve great roast beef dinners and homemade pie among other things.
And we can't forget all the great Mexican foods available, including the fajitas, burritos, quesadillas and tacos, along with the shish-ka-bobs, hamburgers, and Spamburgers, as well as big, deep cups of French fries and onion rings, hot out of the deep fryer. I also hear they offer deep fried Snickers and Twinkies. And what would the fair be if it didn't have fresh sweet corn and Godfather’s pizza? Last year the Steele County Fair even had alligator.
The fairs also offer cheese curds and deep fried ice cream, but once again they are not to my taste. However the Dairy Barn at the Minnesota State Fair always had good shakes that I couldn't resist when we went to the fair years ago. There was a time the dairy industry allowed fairgoers to drink all the milk they could for 10 cents, but I am sure the price has gone up. And we can't forget the 1919 Root beer or the sno kones.
Then there were those who sent their kids through college with money made from their fresh lemonade stand at the fair Another little stand made s'mores, which didn't require a great deal of capital or too large of a stand, but they kept busy. Pineapple on a stick is healthy and there are plenty of people who look forward to enjoying a good old caramel apple or chocolate dipped bananas.
Mini doughnuts became popular a number of years ago, and admittedly they are easy to eat as you make your way around the fairgrounds. Funnel cakes were also a popular choice for some, as are elephant ears. Once again that was not anything I ever got hungry for, and the same goes for taffy and cotton candy. Burke’s Taffy has been at the Steele County Fair for 75 years. All of our county fairs also have fresh popped corn and caramel corn available to munch on. The upcoming Steele County Fair also offers pickles on a stick.
Over the past few years, deep friend cookie dough, cookie dough shakes and paper cups of baked cookies became the thing to enjoy. My mother never let my sister and I eat raw cookie dough because of the raw eggs within them. Here again, the cookie dough items have never appealed to me.
Years ago, people had to bargain to have a stand at the state fair. It had to be something new and different than what was already there. I am not sure if that is the case today. I did learn the Steele County Fair this year will have over 100 stands that will offer assorted foods and drinks so I guess no one will go home hungry.
Somehow, though the names are intriguing, the thought of some foods that would be prohibitive if the price wasn't already out of my range. It is still hard to beat a vanilla ice cream cone at McDonald’s for a buck, as far as I am concerned.
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This week’s birthdays and anniversaries include:
• Thursday, August 20th: Dale Nelson, John Scrabeck, Tammy Bergland Techau, Andy Christensen, Diane Cleven, Delbert Karsjens, Jozie Annamarie Johnson, Kim Jensen, Jamie Nelson, Larry Pierce, Tianna & Joshua Kubicek
• Friday, August 21st: Lori Moon, Avery Hullopeter, Abriana Harris, Scott Tracy, Larry Klocek, Viola Klocek, Dawn Dobberstein, Mary Richards, Cindy Anderson, Roger Johnson, Sara Degan Misgen, Jodie Lee, Jaden Jensen, Cody Lembke, Michael Olson, Jasmine Obermoller Evans, David & Cindy Callahan
• Saturday, August 22nd: Thayne & Becky Nordland, Ava Moon, Julie Johnson, Kyle Wallerich, La Donna Cummins Fallen, John Butler, John Glynn, Diane Butler, Dale Kelly, Aaron Ladlie, Dale Kelly, Nancy TaBelle
• Sunday, August 23rd: Jessica Lutgens, Jared Dawson Lee, Logan Dale Marzolf, Terry Holland, Ann Klemmensen, Matthew Knudson, Steve Wilker, Scott Wright, Quinn Vu, Vernon & Jeanne Simonson, Amy & Marshall Svoboda
• Monday, August 24th: Rick Storlie, Michelle Gowlland, Nicholas Chrisensen, Sam Worrell, Tanya Hughes, Natalie Deml, Elizah Lee Ackland, Crystal Johnson, Terry Vaith, Jeff Kycek, LaNell Leak Sunde, Corey Peterson, Mary Edon, Ralph & Cheryl Dobberstein, John & Cindy Christensen
• Tuesday, August 25th: Chloe Lynn Muilenberg, Carl Glienke Jr., Evelyn Anderson, Renee Brandt, Ted Dahl, Jayme Hohansee, Craig Kammerer, Jessica Kubat, Pete Rietveld, Mary Larson, Melissa Peterson, Jim & Lynn Arends, Mark & Deb Hillesheim, Deb & Jim Bohnoff, Rachel & Michael Grunklee, Leah & Dama Clark, Everett & Linda Lang
• Wednesday, August 26th: William Michael Rodney Tuttle, Christopher Cook, Clarice Pence, Catherine Haugen, Mike Riley, Elijah Lee Ackland, Catherine Mae Haugen, Tim Falksen, George Stieglbauer, Michael Rodney Tuttle, Sharon Peterson, Travis & Kelly Johnson, Angie & Michael Den Herder
• Thursday, August 27th: Martin Johnson, Kory Kress, Alice Randall, Sandra Thostenson, Dee Ann Jensen, Jim Collins, Mary Lageson, Sharon Ramaker, Terry Pelzl, Angela DeGeus, Jessica Marie Nygaard Paulson, Corlyn & Janice Paulsen
• Friday, August 28th: Mitch Helmers, Larry Motl, Bev Newgard. Waynetta Peterson, Rosy Fisher, Lorraine Christensen, Justine Randall, Marlys Van Kampen, Tammy Johnson, Gerritt Molenaar Sr., Jacquelyn Jensen, Linda Kelly, Marvin Thomspon, Jim & Fran Ladlie
• Saturday August 29th: Mark Lee, Eunice Smith, Barbara Klinger, Cheryl & Brian Boettcher
Wherever this year takes you, may you find happiness along the way.