Vo Garner goes to a lot of fairs and likes the food at all of them. Her first visit to the Wayne County 4-H Fair came on Sunday.
Like many, she sampled some of the wide variety of cuisine available from the many fair booths.
At home in Virginia, she visits the state fair and five or six local fairs every summer. Being in Indiana, she tried roasted sweet corn and found the buttery taste to her liking.
Her friend Ciara Cappas of Richmond waited patiently at a nearby vendor for her order of five deep-fried Oreos. What’s five minutes more when she’s already been waiting since last year’s fair for the gooey, warm creation coated in powdered sugar?
“I get them every time,” said Cappas, who said this is about her 20th year coming to the fair. “They’re only here for a short time so I might as well enjoy them.” Sometimes, though, she goes for a different vendor’s teriyaki chicken. “It just depends how I feel.”
Trent and Tiffanie Gentry brought daughter Brexlee, who just turned 1 year old, to the fair and made sure she got a few bites of the exotically flavored bourbon chicken from a busy fair food vendor, China Rainbow. Brexlee seemed to enjoy it.
Eddie May and his fiancée, Draya Taylor, also visited the China Rainbow for his order of steak and potatoes and hers of General Tso’s chicken. “We come to the fair strictly for the food,” Eddie said. For dessert they might try funnel fingers, another deep-fried dough-and-sugar concoction. And, “Well, my kids like to see the animals.”
Their friend Alec Thornburg thought for a second and said his favorite fair food is walking tacos.
Gracie Russell sat at a picnic table with her brother, Beau Russell, and their grandmother, Mary Russell. “We’re onion people,” Gracie said as she chowed through a plate full of blooming onions, a deep-fried concoction with onion spears sticking up into the air. Mary had a plateful of jumbo-sized onion rings. Only Beau had no food but said his favorite is elephant ears, a plateful of fried bread coated in butter and cinnamon sugar.
Caleb Harmon, a Richmond firefighter, said he’ll be back out at the fair a couple more times this week to eat his favorite, the bourbon chicken.
The Gentrys might have summed up how many feel about fair food.
“We’re here every night,” said Tiffanie, noting that the couple looks forward to the special foods. “You only get it during the fair.”
A version of this article appeared in the June 21 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.