Vendors ply their deep-fried trade in quest to satiate fairgoers' tastes
Many food vendors said business has been slow because of the hot weather.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
LISBON -- The 161st edition of the Columbiana County Fair wraps up Sunday night, but there is still plenty of time for fair visitors to sample the many culinary delights offered by midway vendors.
Many fair vendors said business has been slow this week because of the hot weather, but the fair concludes with two grandstand events that usually draw large crowds. A truck and tractor pull begins at 6 tonight, and the final grandstand event is a car demolition derby at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Among the traditional offerings of corn dogs, candy apples, cotton candy, gyros, sausage sandwiches, funnel cakes and elephant ears, vendors are serving up everything from sweet and sour chicken to deep-fried Oreos and Twinkies.
Dave Sprouse of Salem decided to try his first buffalo burger Friday at C & amp;M Concessions. He said he likes ground beef burgers just about any way they can be fixed, so he decided to give the buffalo a try.
He said the meat has a good taste and would recommend it. He topped his with grilled peppers and onions.
Cindy Graffius of Columbiana and her husband, Mark, take their C & amp;M Concessions stand to Columbiana and Carroll county fairs and to the Canfield Fair.
She said they started in 1995, cooking up steak hoagies and Italian sausage. They buy the buffalo meat from local ranchers, she said. Graffius said the meat is a little sweeter and more lean than beef. The buffalo burgers are quarter-pound patties.
Janice DiRusso of North Lima is operating a World of Subs trailer next to the family's better-known DiRusso's Italian Sausage stand.
She said they have brought the sub trailer to the Columbiana County Fair about six years. Fair visitors like the choice of a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, or a sub bun piled high with a variety of cold cuts and cheese rather than hot food, she said.
"Cold subs are a refreshing change and a good value," she added.
Bill Thomas of Lake Milton was enjoying a cooler day Friday after a long, hot week at the fair and two weeks of identical weather at two previous fairs he worked.
He offers baked goods such as apple and cherry strudel, brownies, large cookies, cream puffs and cinnamon rolls.
Thomas said the cinnamon rolls and cream puffs are his best sellers. The cinnamon rolls are large, and each cream puff is stuffed with a half pound of Bavarian cream.
He controls quality by selling only items he makes himself. He worked in steel mills and other factories until the mid-1980s when he began working food trailers with a friend.
If it ain't broke ...
After awhile, he decided to launch out on his own. He built from scratch the trailer he's now using.
"People try to sell more product by always trying to come up with something new," he said. "I just stick to traditional favorites because I think people are looking for familiar food. They know what it's supposed to taste like, and I want to do it right."
Betty Kitzmiller of Homeworth said her family's Hawaiian shaved ice stand has been busy all week because patrons were seeking relief from the heat.
She said the shaved ice is different than a snow cone because it has a softer texture. Besides traditional flavors like cherry, grape and orange, they also offer watermelon, bubble gum, peach, pi & ntilde;a colada and Georgia peach. Georgia peach is a mix of 80 percent peach with strawberry flavor added.
Kitzmiller said she and her husband, Marion, started the stand in Cornersburg and operated it regularly for nearly 10 years. Now, however, they work only the Columbiana County Fair because it's close to home. They consider the stand a hobby now and set up at the fair to make some money for the family's college fund.