Fried Oreos, Funnel Cakes and Cows
Dieters beware! It’s that time of year – fair time in the DMV when healthy eating gets thrown out the window in favor of fried food of all types – French fries, fried dough, funnel cakes, fried Oreos, fried Milkyway candy bars, fried Twinkies and even deep fried veggies.
The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, probably the largest county fair in the area is currently underway through Saturday in Gaithersburg as is the Prince William County Fair in Manassas. The Howard County Fair just wrapped up last Saturday. The Prince George’s County Fair is Sept. 10-13 at Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington. The Anne Arundel County Fair is set for Sept. 16-20 at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds in Crownsville. And the Charles County Fair is Sept. 17-20 at the Charles County Fairgrounds in La Plata. The other county fairs in Virginia have already passed. The D.C. State Fair happens from noon-8 p.m. on Sept. 12 at Old City Farm & Guild, 925 Rhode Island Ave. NW, but it’s really not a fair with rides and fried delights.
The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair is the quintessential fair – animals, food, rides and all the country a city slicker could want!
Looking to take on a new hobby? Stop and watch the intricacies of judging the perfect shorn sheep. Trying to teach your children about child-birth? Visit the birthing tent and see the miracle of life itself! (Mind you, cows are the mothers at this fair!) Like to gamble? Then the pig races are the place for you! Opportunities and excitement abound!
You can do it all while shoving grease-soaked carnival treats in your mouth. Watch the twirly rides with the flashing lights. Get heckled by the keepers of the game booths – an odd mix of surly older folks and those who could probably star in one of A&E‘s many reality shows. Nowhere else on earth can one get so excited to play a game for $2 and receive a cheap stuffed animal that will either meet the dog later that night or pass on to one of our nation’s many land-fills.
But admit it, the real reason we go is for the food. Turkey legs, ice cream, cotton candy, sausage, fresh-squeezed lemonade, caramel apples … it’s not high-brow, but it’s darn tasty. The stuff you know you shouldn’t eat and regret later. But while you’re chomping, heaven does indeed seem to be a place on earth! And where else can you eat a hotdog in front of a pig? Or a hamburger while staring a cow in the face. There is a circle of life and it’s at the fair!
This year’s fair menu includes the usual fair foods like pit beef, corn dogs and soft pretzels, but that’s not all you will find. The Big Cheese serves grilled cheese sandwiches – more than 10,000 last year – and also offers cheese platters and blocks of cheese. Beyond Sprinkles by Guatemalteca Bakery is selling 10 flavors of cupcakes along with traditional Guatemalan bakery items such as bread pudding, tortas, zepelines, rellenos and drinks like horchata and tamarindo. Buttle Tea Licious is offering bubble tea smoothies and fried bananas. Chan Concessions is serving up chicken on a stick with fried rice or lo mein noodles, shrimp fried rice and egg rolls. Crepe is selling sweet and savory crepes including sun dried tomatoe veggie and Nutella banana. Demetri’s Greek Foods is cooking gyros, kabobs and baklava.
On the midway, Don Julios is serving authentic Mexican cuisine such as carne asado, pupusas, burritos and quesadillas. European Foods is offering ruben and pastrami sandwiches, fried green tomatoes and fried pickles. The Corn Guys have fresh roasted ears of corn. Trinity United Methodist Church is serving pulled and BBQ chicken. St. Francis of Assisi is selling pulled pork sandwiches. And, if you really want to eat healthy, Rock Hill Orchard will be selling farm fresh produce. You can see the full list of food concessions and their menus here.
So get out to the fair! Eat something with the sweet smell of manure in the air while you show your support for our farms. Support 4-H and other area organizations and fill your stomach at the same time.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.