Fair food is more than fair

Published 10:08 am Thursday, August 5, 2010

Jill Jensen eats a Greek kabob this week at the Freeborn County Fair. -- Katie Walker/for the Tribune

By Jill Jensen, for the Tribune

The annual Freeborn County Fair provides a guilt-free opportunity to indulge in some of your favorite concessions. Whether you have traditional favorites or you enjoy sampling new fares, there’s a treat for everyone brave enough to face the heat.

If you have a sweet tooth, look no further than Tom Thumb Mini Donuts, where you can buy “light as a feather” delights for $4 a bag. Cream Cheese Comets Desserts offers Retch’s deep-fried cookie dough, akin to a warm chocolate chip cookie melting in your mouth and a flaky deep fried cream cheese wonton in cinnamon or strawberry for $5. As a sweet cinnamon toast alternative, C&T Concessions offers $4 elephant ears, made from homemade batter every morning.

A smoothie at Weston’s stand at the fair. -- Jill Jenson/For the Tribune

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One of the best ways to cool down is through Westrum’s smoothie stand, which uses ice and fresh strawberries and bananas in their $4 or $5 drinks. In equally delicious contrast, Nelson’s Lemonade Stand is a small yellow booth outside the grandstand, known to produce the epitome of freshly squeezed lemonade for $3.50 since 1975. The best value and variety of pop or water can be found at Hog John’s for $1.

A creative way to eat your daily vegetables is through the deep fryer, like at MoeGeo’s, where you can buy deep-fried green beans or pickles with ranch for $3.50. A word to the wise: the pickles may be deliciously juicy, but they retain heat so let them cool. As far as fresh vegetables go, the FFA sells tender sweet corn for $2. Stand advisor Ken Maier tells us they soak their corn in salt water with ice for 24 hours, in order for their wood grills to steam the corn within their husks. The stand also sells a whopping foamy root beer for $2, with all proceeds going to the students in FFA.

Queen’s Apples caramel apple dessert. -- Jill Jenson/For the Tribune

Fresh battered cheese curds from the Temple Concessions stand are a $5 must, as well as the traditional Bruno’s corn dogs for $3. For a salty snack, fresh fried chips from Faye Pederson’s purple concession booth are perfect for sharing. But the treat fairgoers must try is at the B & D Greek shish-kabob stand. Heavily seasoned pork kabobs for $4 with a slice of white bread on top or a spicy and tangy gyro for $7 are a perfectly tasty, cheap and convenient treat.

For dessert, be sure to stop by the Freeborn County American Dairy Association stand for one scoop of Samson Dairy’s finest vanilla or chocolate ice cream in a bowl or dish for $1.50. Another option is Nitro ice cream, where the smooth consistency is worth the $3 for two scoops. Queen’s Apples, a crowd-pleasing fresh-sliced Braeburn or Pink Lady apple, with caramel, nuts and whipped cream is the literal $4 cherry on top of a perfect day at the Freeborn County Fair.