Source: By Rick Whelan – The Beacon Herald

There’s something magical about the annual fall fair — the way it seems to be the official harbinger of … duh! … fall!

What I mean is … before those merry-go-round horses start prancing up and down and before the teenage screams accompany the whirling, twirling Zipper, it’s summer.

But after the fall fair has come and gone, the temperatures seem to drop precipitously and there’s something in the air that whispers “Make every day count, pal … because those snowsqualls and endless sidewalks that need shovelling are just around the corner!”

For about 10 years now my fall fair excursions have centred on our grandchildren. There’s nothing quite like seeing those simple, enduring attractions through the eyes of unspoiled youth.

The bumper cars, the cotton candy and the smell of fried onions wafting through the crisp fall air.

And then there’s the walk home … as the little ones chirp excitedly about their favourite ride and I trail slightly behind, my empty wallet spread open like a flayed flounder as I think, “No! C’mon … really! Where the heck did that hundred dollars go?”

My granddaughter Lauren spotted the towering ferris wheel as we approached the fair this year.

“Look, Grandpa! The ferris wheel!! Look how big it is! Will you take me on the ferris wheel when we get to the fair? Huh? Huh? Will you, Grandpa? Willya?”

My palms suddenly were sweaty. I’ve never been good at heights … especially heights constructed in a few hours by a group of men who have been driving a truck all night and whose powers of concentration may be somewhat diminished.

About half an hour later, as ride tickets grew soggy in an increasingly sweaty palm, we stood at the foot of the wheel. Lauren gazed upward. I chose not to.

Before I knew it, we were climbing aloft. “This isn’t so bad,” I thought to myself. Lauren excitedly waved to Mommy and Grandma way down on the ground. I chose not to.

Then, of course, the inevitable part of wheel-riding came. We stopped at the very top. Our little brightly coloured gondola swayed in the wind.

“Why are we stopped, Grandpa?” Good question.

As the ride concluded (it was actually kind of neat!) I was touched by the tender way the grizzled carnie lifted Lauren out of her seat and gave her a semi-toothed smile.

Carnival workers have always kind of fascinated me. I mean … where do they all go after fall fair season? They have chosen a hard life … one with little opportunity for a family or any real personal life or the occasional lazy Sunday afternoon.

I bet it’s always Monday morning in a carnival workers’ life. If they’re not working the rides, collecting the tickets or pitching in when some unforeseen technical glitch presents itself, they are either breaking down or setting up a ride or driving a ride truck to the next date.

Carnies have been the butt of many jokes and snide comments over the years. I myself took a swipe at them just a few paragraphs ago. But I’d like to apologize.

I’d like to atone by saluting the carnies of the world.

They are the last of the rough-and-ready individuals who work hard and no doubt play hard and whose choice of lifestyle makes our annual fall fair extravaganzas possible!

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Source – 33TV.Com


DALLAS – 24 days of fair rides and fair food are just not enough! Not according to State Fair officials. And not when the green line is bringing people to Fair Park.

So now get ready for the summer of 2012!

That’s when the Texas Star may get it’s chance to shine during the summer months starting that year.

Sue Gooding, Vice-President of Public Relations for the State Fair if Texas said, “In 2012, opening what we’re now calling Summer Place.”

The Midway will be that place for a line-up of summer fun to include rides like the Texas Skyway, some other mainstays, and some new rides, if everything goes as planned.

Gooding said, “We want everybody to come out, pitch in and make this the greatest State Fair of Texas we have ever had.”

For Summer Place to take place, the fair is hoping for a banner year of profit.

So far, opening weekend appears on target. So the State Fair is planning to buy a giant space needle.

Then the next year, they’ll buy a roller coaster.

And they plan to work with the museums at fair park to give visitors a package deal.

State Fair Visitor Jennifer Haynes said, “That would be a great idea so we wouldn’t have to go all the way to six flags, it would be something for the little ones like this one to do.”

And state fair officials are counting on the green line to get some of them here.

But don’t expect the entire fair experience. The fried banana peanut butter and jelly sandwich would be reserved for the 24 days of the state fair.

None of the deep fried goodies during the summer. State Fair visitor Mark Kitchen said this about the fried foods: “But this is what makes coming out here.” Gooding with the State Fair said, “We want to keep products distinctively different”

During the summer, the midway would have other fair foods such as corn dogs and funnel cakes.

Kitchen disagreed, “I can see their point, but coming out to the midway and not having a morsel of this, that would be a disappointment.

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Source: Monika Rued – Today’sThv

Sheriff’s investigators have arrested two Baxter County juveniles for allegedly selling fake ride tickets for the Baxter County Fair and Carnival.

Archway Amusements, which operates the carnival rides and games at the Baxter County Fair, contacted the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday after realizing they had duplicate ticket numbers.

Investigator Brad Hurst interviewed several students. He found that at least 37 fraudulent ride tickets had been scanned and printed at home on a personal computer by a school student. These tickets were then taken to the junior high school and sold to other students for cash.

The two boys, 14 and 15, face theft by deception charges in juvenile court.

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Source: LINDA MASTERS – Baxter Bulletin

Fair food has changed. In times past, a mention of going to the fair conjured up visions of corn dogs, cotton candy and funnel cakes. These days, fair food has changed into anything that can cooked in a vat of oil — deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried Twinkies, deep-fried pickles, deep-fried Coca-Cola, deep-fried Snickers, deep-fried strawberries and chicken-fried bacon — or anything you can eat off a stick.

New and innovative fair food seems to debut at state fairs before making the rounds at county fairs. The winner of this year’s Big Tex Choice Awards at the State Fair of Texas is none other than artery-clogging, calorie-ridden, deep-fried butter. Yes folks, you read that correctly, deep-fried butter, so you can look for that to arrive at the county fair next year. In the interest of health, I will skip that recipe.

Here are a few recipes — some new, some old, some healthy, some not — so you can enjoy the flavors of the fair throughout the year:

Caramel Apples

A new product, Kraft Caramel Bits, takes the tedious task of unwrapping caramels out of making caramel apples and really speeds up the process.

  1. 11-ounce package Kraft Caramel Bits
  2. 2 tablespoons water
  3. 6 large apples (I used Paula Reds)
  4. 6 wooden sticks
  5. 3/4 cup crushed peanuts
  6. 7-ounce tub Baker’s Milk Chocolate Dipping Chocolate
  7. Assorted sprinkles

Combine caramel bits and water; heat over low heat, stirring until smooth.

Be sure apples are room temperature and dry. Insert wooden sticks into apples. Holding each apple by the stick, swirl in the caramel to coat. Allow excess to drip off. Dip in crushed peanuts, if desired, and place on waxed paper. Allow caramel to set.

If decorating with chocolate, skip dipping in the peanuts and place apples on waxed paper to allow caramel to set. Follow directions on dipping chocolate to melt in the microwave. With a fork, drizzle chocolate over apples. Before chocolate hardens, add assorted sprinkles.

Makes 6.

Chocolate-Covered Bacon

This tidbit originated at Famous Dave’s at the Minnesota State Fair. A treat called Pig Lickers sounds weird, but the salty bacon marries perfectly with velvety, smooth chocolate to create a very unusual delicacy.

  1. 1 pound bacon
  2. 7-ounce tub Baker’s Milk Chocolate Dipping Chocolate

Cook bacon crisply by your favorite method — I like to use the microwave because the bacon stays flat. Crispness is the key, so make sure the bacon is crisp. Drain well and cool.

Follow directions on dipping chocolate to melt in the microwave.

Carefully dip half of each piece of bacon into the chocolate. Transfer to waxed paper to allow chocolate to harden before serving.

You also can pop it in the freezer for a few minutes and serve cold.

Corn on a Stick

Following the introduction of the corn dog, people learned to love the convenience of eating food on a stick. This is really easy, and children love it. For safety sake, nip off the sharp end of each wooden skewer once you have impaled the corn. Try it at your next picnic or cookout.

  1. Fresh corn on the cob
  2. Butter
  3. Mrs. Dash Table Blend
  4. Paprika or smoked paprika

Husk and de-silk the corn. Cut or break each ear in half. Cook according to your favorite method. I like to wrap each piece of corn in a damp paper towel and microwave 1-2 minutes.

Once the corn is cooked, using an oven mitt hold the corn and push a skewer through the middle. Butter the corn and sprinkle with Mrs. Dash Table Blend and either paprika or smoked paprika.

Serve at once on skewers.

Deep-Fried Dill Pickles

Deep-fried pickles combines the flavors of savory and salty. Give them a try; they are surprisingly good.

  1. 8-ounce jar sliced dill pickles, drained
  2. Vegetable oil, for frying
  3. Coating:
  4. 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  5. 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  6. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  7. 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  8. 1 teaspoon paprika
  9. 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  10. 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  11. 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  12. 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Heat at least 3 inches of oil in a deep saucepan to 350 degrees.

Combine coating ingredients. Toss a handful of pickles in the flour mixture and coat well. Shake the pickles to remove loose coating and transfer to the hot oil. Fry until the coating is golden and crispy, 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pickles to a paper towels to drain. Continue frying pickles in small batches. If you crowd the pickles, they will stick to each other. Also, too many pickles will lower the temperature of the oil and create pickles that are greasy.

Serve with ranch dip.

Serves 6-8.

Apple Fritters

The Methodist church serves apple fritters at a huge 2-day fall festival in my hometown in Illinois. You have to get your apple fritters early each day before they sell out.

  1. 4 large apples, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices
  2. 1/2 cup vegetable oil for deep-frying
  3. Rum or lemon juice


  1. 1 tablespoon sugar
  2. 3 eggs, separated
  3. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  4. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/2 cup beer
  6. Confectioners’ sugar

In a large bowl, mix egg yolks, flour, sugar and salt until combined but not smooth. Mix in beer until batter is smooth. Set aside and allow batter to rest one hour. Beat egg whites until stiff and gently fold into the batter.

Just before you are ready to serve, slice apples into 1/2-inch slices. Sprinkle with rum or lemon juice. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Dip apple slices into the batter and fry in hot oil until golden brown, about four minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar or serve with warm honey.

Serves 4-6.

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