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All's fair with food fare at the fair

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Angela Taylor, left, delighted in watching her father, George Stevens, shove a Polish sausage loaded with onions, cheese and peppers into his mouth Friday at the Pitt County American Legion Agricultural Fair.


By Michael Abramowitz
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Chili cheese dogs with onions and cole slaw, washed down with fresh squeezed lemonade, followed by a funnel cake or an elephant ear deep fried dough were hot dishes Friday at the Pitt County Agriculture Fair in Greenville.

All the grease folks could handle with none of the guilt was the order of the day, and why not?

Missy Hill of Greenville busted her diet with a Philly cheese steak — loaded.

“It’s the fair; what are you gonna do?” Hill said. “You have to throw everything out the window when you come to the fair. I planned it that way ahead of time. It’s all about having fun.”

Hill had a gyro at last year’s fair, so decided to work her way down the menu. She reminded the food truck server not to forget the peppers and onions.

“I haven’t had a cheese steak in about four years, so it’s all the way,” she said. “I’ve had the elephant ears fried dough. It was good, and I’m not having any guilt about this.”

A rumor that the fair was offering deep-fried collards and cracklins’ didn’t materialize, but most traditional fair fare is available, including burgers and dogs just about any way you want them, sausages of several national styles, pizza, kabobs, sandwiches, corn dogs and much more. Popular desserts included deep fried oreos, funnel cakes, candy apples and the old standby, cotton candy. And much more.

There were more food trucks on the midway than rides, to say nothing of the vegetables and food crops on display in the exhibit halls, which raises a fair question: Are corn dogs and cotton candy considered agricultural products?

Angela Taylor and her daughter, Kassy Reese Taylor, came to the fair with her dad, George Stevens. Taylor also went for the loaded cheese steak, her first since last year’s trip to the fair, she said.

“I thought I’d relive that moment,” she said. “It’s food I can’t get my hands on every day, so I take advantage of it when I can. I’m not feeling guilty. It’s all about enjoying this day.”

The county fair has always been a family tradition for the Stevens’, but Taylor and her father lost her mother and his wife last year. They decided to come to the fair anyway this year and enjoy the midway atmosphere.

“It’s all about family here, and we feel her spirit here with us,” she said. “’Mom’s favorite treat was the candy apple, so I’m gonna make sure I have one.”

George Stevens went for the Polish sausage with all the peppers and onions he could bury under the cheese topping. He mumbled barely comprehensible words of pleasure as peppers dangled on his chin.

“Yeah, it’s greasy, yes it’s fatty and I know it’s a lot of calories. That’s what I like about it, um hmm,” he said, probably. 

Alysa and Blane Aarup of Greenville brought their son, Carson, to the fair Friday and headed right to the food trucks before checking out the exhibits and rides. They each had a giant lemonade in hand, so decided they needed corn dogs, and fries to wash down with them; traditional fare, but delicious nonetheless, they said.

‘Every time we go somewhere and shove food in our mouths, The Daily Reflector is there to take our picture,” Alysa Aarup said. “My neighbor told me my picture was in the paper while I was at the Taco Throwdown.”

“I’m going for an elephant ear after this,” Carson said. “They’re pretty good; you should try one. Then I’m heading for the Ferris wheel.”

Further down the midway, ECU students Melanie Davies and Skylar Coley strolled along carrying a Bucket-O-Fries and iced lemonades.

“The lemonades are really delicious,” Davies said.

The pair devoured some elephant ears and funnel cakes before hitting the Bucket-O-Fries.

“Of course, these are purely guilty pleasures, without the guilt,” Davies and Coley said. “I’m pretty sure you can make funnel cakes at home, but I’d rather just save the experience for the fair. It’s something about the environment that makes it great.” 

Fair hours are 1-11:45 p.m. today and 1-7:45 p.m. Sunday.

General daily admission is $6, and free for ages 4 and younger. Wristbands (for unlimited rides) are $20 each. Parking is free. Visit pittfair.org or call 756-6916 for more information.