Mary Ann Lienhart Cross
County Extension Director
Extension Educator Health Human sciences
Purdue Extension Elkhart County
For release July 15, 2013
Food at the 4-H Fair
Last year, as I wrote the column for the week that starts our Elkhart County 4-H Fair, we really needed rain. The weather is always an issue when it comes to fair time; too hot is not good, chilly is not good either except for the livestock, and too much rain is also a huge problem. Now when it comes to gardens and farm crops we need Mother Nature to let the sun shine and give us a slight breeze without the humidity. I know I am asking for a lot but if you don’t ask you can’t receive!
For many of us it is county 4-H fair time and there is just nothing like it. For a long time I have admitted that I am county and state fair junkie; I tried to think of a more positive word but I am what I am when it comes to fairs. From my years of talking to people I know that many of you come to the fair for all of the fair food. I know several of you have fair food plans, meaning what local food you are going to enjoy on certain days. When it comes to the Elkhart County 4-H Fair one of my friends always makes his first Friday trip to the 4-H Saddle Club for a bratwurst sandwich. He has a special name for the bratwurst since he is going to the saddle club. I won’t use that name but I will say the name gets the attention of the 4-H youth around us and he gets some interesting looks!
If you like to have breakfast there are two or three choices. The only air-conditioned food choice is at the Eastern Star, and they have some good biscuits and gravy. After breakfast they offer meals and sandwiches. So now we are ready for just walking across the street to the Cattlemen Association and having a rib eye steak sandwich. Eating at the fair is often about meat as next is 4-H Lamb Club and they are known for their “Lemon Shake Up” which they have exclusives on. This year they are also featuring a double lamb burger in memory of past 4-H Lamb Club leader and past fair president Carson Lantis. They are also known for lamb burgers and lamb chops. Next to them is Crystal Valley Exchange Club, which offers the popular taco and their famous “Walking Taco.”
Next we cross the street to a shared building of the 4-H Goat Club, Goshen Noon Kiwanis, and PSI Iota XI Sorority. The main draw is the grilled 1 pound burger and the sweet corn. The 4-H Goat Club features Mexican food, and frozen beverages and yogurt is returning to the stand. The sorority has fresh locally made pizza. Now we can walk to the other side of the street and have some great fresh grilled pancakes from Elkhart County Exchange club. Staying on that side we head to the Elkhart Noon Exchange Club for Buffalo Burgers and wraps. The volunteers at Elkhart Noon Optimist prepare fish, catfish and tenderloins. Along the way is also the Star Light Chapter 181 that is known for their sloppy Joes. Right on the corner is Kappa Kappa Kappa and they have fresh pie and ice cream.
When you round the corner onto Rotary Boulevard and walk a little you will come to the newest 4-H club concession stand and this is the Dairy Feeder Club. They’re serving Amish Haystacks. On Tractor Pull Thursday, they’ll be doing a breakfast haystack. Next is Dairy Bar with ice cream delights and the most economical food on the fairgrounds: their grilled cheese sandwich. Across the road and next to the grandstands is the 4-H Junior Leaders and they have the best popcorn at the fair and also hot dogs and beverages. If you cross the road and walk down just a little on the opposite side is the 4-H Saddle club and they have fruit, hamburgers, bratwurst and a variety of fried foods.
My goal in writing this is to have whetted your appetite so you come to the 4-H fair, see the 4-H exhibits, see open class exhibits, visit with the commercial exhibitors, eat great food and make fair memories. There are also commercial food vendors and a favorite of many is the Chinese food that is down by the midway. Everything that I have eaten there is always excellent. I do hope to see you at the fair and I know you will enjoy the food! ###
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