Vindicator reporter Kalea Hall tries her hand at cooking french fries at a Molnar’s stand at the Canfield Fair. Molnar’s has 12 concession stands and has been at the fair for 45 years.
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By Kalea Hall
Joan Marks and Rose Spalla of Poland always have to get their Molnar’s cinnamon rolls with maple frosting when they come to the Canfield Fair every year.
“This is how we start our day,” Marks said Wednesday morning while eating her cinnamon roll.
“After, we go straight to the grandstand to wash the goop off of our hands,” Spalla said, laughing.
It took both ladies one-half hour to finally get through their cinnamon rolls, but it took days of hard work to make sure customers like Marks and Spalla could get their gooey goodies.
Since 1968 Molnar’s concessions have brought sweet joy to fair-goers with an appetite for cinnamon rolls, funnel cakes, fried Oreos, steak, sausage, pulled pork, french fries and lemonade.
“We have tried [selling] it all,” said Faith McGee, the manager of Molnar’s.
Since she was a teenager, McGee has been in the concessions business, helping her father, Jim Molnar, to grow the company into what it is today. Molnar started with just a fried foods stand. Now with 12 stands, having more than 50 employees is a necessity, yet McGee still runs around from 5 a.m. until whenever the day ends making sure everything is working OK, and all of her stands are stocked and open for business.
“It’s a crazy life,” McGee said. “I thrive off of the stress.”
Even with her phone ringing and radio constantly on, McGee still makes sure to listen to everyone, fix any problems that arise and do it all with a smile on her face. She considers herself a “jack of all trades,” because she has to fix machines, place employees where they need to be and, yes, even work in the stands serving food with her employees.
“We are a hands-on family,” McGee said. “There are a lot of times where the owners do not even step foot on the trailer.”
McGee never thought her father’s concession company would grow to be so large. From April until October, McGee and her staff are traveling around the nation to 30 different events.
But the Molnars from Austintown consider the Canfield Fair a special event.
“We see a lot of friends,” McGee said. “Those moments I remember and enjoy the most.”
How much Molnar’s sells each year varies, but the top favorites seem to be cinnamon rolls and steak sandwiches.
I had the pleasure of selling a few steak sandwiches and french fries to some of Molnar’s customers on opening day at the Austintown Drive and Beaver Drive location. I set my notebook and pen down and picked up tongs and plastic gloves for 20 minutes.
Concession stands are hot, cramped and busy, but it was a fun experience.
Two of McGee’s employees were patient with me and taught me the correct way to pile french fries as high as the cup holding them would let me and how to place steak on a bun perfectly.
I would never want to be running a concession stand when it gets busy, but the Molnars have it down to a science. After 40-plus years in the business, they know what they’re doing.
At the end of my brief time as a concession worker, I decided it is best to stick with my day job.
As for McGee, she will continue her work in the concession business until she is ready to retire, but for now it is go, go, go.
After cleaning up from the Canfield Fair late Tuesday, Molnar’s will be heading to the Columbiana Street Fair, which starts Sept. 5.
“It is a love/hate relationship,” McGee said, smiling about her life in the