Tasty treats abound at Norfolk fair
Hurry, hurry, step right up and get your carnival food.
Country fairs are the rage for big veggie contests, horse and animal shows, midways, demolition derbies, music and as purveyors of quintessential carny food.
There’s all the deep-fried, unusual food-on-a-stick creations you won’t find anywhere else.
This open-air dining akin to the popularity of food trucks now takes the cake — so to speak — and no one does it better than the Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show in Simcoe (172 South Dr.), south of Brantford.
The fair, which runs Oct. 3-9, is a “culinary carnival,” says Noah Cappe, host of the TV show Carnival Eats.
He knows his deep-fried, roasted and toasted discoveries as his Food Network Canada show did an episode featuring the Norfolk fair.
Cappe raved about the Thanksgiving Bowl he called a “cornucopia of flavours with fresh fall veggies, succulent turkey and cranberry cornbread.”
Digging into some fusion fare with Indo-Canadian inspired butter bacon poutine and a cheeseburger eggroll, he washed it down with ale and apple fritters.
As Ontario’s oldest agricultural fair, Norfolk has been doing it right for the past 177 years, keeping up with the evolution of taste treats.
“Dozens of tantalizing tastes will be awaiting visitors as they make their way down food alley,” said publicist Wendy Brick.
It keeps up with the changing tastes by this year offering big pickle dogs, deep-fried chicken feet on a stick and savoury bacon balls.
Those wacky culinary creations are being offered by vendors Karley and Scott Dennis of CoCo Concessions.
“We bring quality fun products to eat and we know fair-goers can’t resist trying something new,” said Scott.
How about pizza on a stick from Paul Oczot of Festival Foods while Sunny Day Foods returns with the tornado potato.
While sourcing “great eats,” exhibits coordinator Jessica Vanderschee said the fair remains committed to working with community groups for favourites such as bacon on a bun, corn dogs, burgers and fries.
Along with about 50 food vendors are three restaurants: the Red Ribbon Bistro in the Rec Centre, the Craft Brew Lounge in the Curling building and Gator Country Kitchen in the Junior Farmers building serving barbecue ribs, chicken and cabbage rolls.
“Our surveys have shown that great fair food is still one of the top reasons people come to the fair,” said George Araujo, general manager.
“The fair has always encouraged the vendors to be creative and they have always responded with great tasting treats,” he added.
A couple of years ago, it was deepfried butter that was a “real hit” and the jury’s still out on how well the fried chicken feet will do.
“These novelty foods complement our traditional fun foods like taffy made on site, warm fudge and racks of ribs that people buy to take home,” Araujo said.
Taste of Norfolk takes place Oct. 6-9 from 1 p.m. in the Rec Centre Arena highlighting local wineries, breweries and restaurants.
While celebrating its agricultural roots, highlights also include Canadian country music Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. with Tim Hicks and Oct. 7 with Chad Brownlee. See norfolkcounty
fair.com or call (519) 426-7280.
Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, featured last week, has revised two of its main events starting times and the number of fest halls.
It gets underway outside Kitchener City Hall Oct. 6 at 11 a.m. (running until Oct. 14) and has 13 German-Canadian clubs.
The Thanksgiving Day Parade starts at 8:30 a.m. from Weber and Frederick streets in Kitchener.
Scott Dennis of CoCo Concessions offers deep-fried chicken feet on a stick at the fair in Simcoe.