County fare

Last Friday night we loaded up the minivan and headed to Lawrenceville for the Gwinnett County Fair. We hadn’t been in several years, and we were overdue for a family outing. This one fit the bill nicely.

Carlton looking down on the Gwinnett County Fair from the ferris wheel.

Carlton looks down on the Gwinnett County Fair from the ferris wheel. Look at ALL the people eating bad food!

I prefer my fairs a little later in the fall — call it a habit formed by 10 years of living in Middle Georgia where the Georgia National Fair in Perry and the Georgia State Fair in Macon hit in October — but as fairs go, the Gwinnett County Fair has all you need. There are rides, both for the kiddies and the astronaut trainees who can withstand whirling G forces. There are animals, mostly pigs and cows the night we went. There are people to watch. How on earth the freak shows can compete with who you see on the midway is beyond me, what with all the piercings and tattoos these days.

And then, there is the food. If you can cover it in batter and fry it in oil, then it will be served to you at a fair. This year we treated ourselves to corn dogs for the kids and Philly Cheese Steak and Italian Sausage sandwiches for the adults.

I am normally a little more health conscious about what I consume, but fried processed meats and potatoes are what you are supposed to eat at the fair. It’s expected. It’s … it’s … well, it’s just plain American.

What I have noticed in recent years, however, is the addition of fried candy bars and other desserts. OK, I’ll give you a fried fruit pie. That makes sense, in a way, and those have been around for years. But who was the first person to put a stick in a Snickers, coat it in batter and deep fry it?

This year’s Holy Grail for Carla was the fried Reese’s Cups. Anyone who has visited her Pinterest board dedicated to all things chocolate and peanut butter will know she has more than a passing interest in this food combination.

So a couple of hours after our grease-infused supper had settled, we joined the line at a vendor advertising fried Oreos, Twinkies, Reese’s Cups and much, much more.

And I’m happy to report that coating desserts in batter, frying them and adding powdered sugar may kill you, but it doesn’t taste half bad. Yes, I know, it is an assault on your pancreas, but it is a delight to the taste buds.

Harris eats a fried Twinkie

Harris enjoys a few bites of the fried Twinkie on a stick. I may or may not have finished it.

We all shared each other’s selections. Carla, of course, went with the Reese’s Cups while Harris chose the Twinkie. Barron, who had gone off with his buddy, Noah, got a to-go box of the Oreos, one of which is still in the refrigerator, a persistent reminder of last weekend’s gluttony.

You can count the calories and fat grams of such food. You can even qualify the great taste with an array of superlatives. What you can’t measure is the amount of damage these foods do to your self-esteem. As I sat on the bench outside of the jungle-themed fun house, my black T-shirt getting coated with the tell-tale evidence of powdered sugar, I couldn’t help but think what an awful nutrition choice this was. I knew I should be resisting it with every fiber of my being.

But I stay pretty up-tight most of the time. I finished off Harris’ Twinkie, which he discarded a couple of bites in, while watching him and Carlton laugh and play in the fun house. I watched their faces light up as they zoomed down the giant slide. I swear I could see their stomach’s rising into their throats as they dipped and swooped on the tug boat. I enjoyed their joy.

So if I ate some food that may shorten my life by a few days, I think I can live with the trade-off. The fair has a way of helping you re-prioritize and savor what’s truly important.

Of course, you definitely want to stay away from the “Guess Your Weight” guy. That’s a definite buzz kill.

What’s your favorite fair food? What’s your favorite part of the fair? Share your secret culinary indulgences from the midway by leaving a comment below.

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About lanceelliottwallace

Lance Elliott Wallace lives and writes in the Atlanta suburb of Lilburn. A native of Texas and a former resident of Florida and Alabama, Lance married a Georgia girl and together they are rearing three Georgia boys. By day he communicates for Georgia Tech engineers and scientists. He spends his early morning hours praying, writing and running.
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4 Responses to County fare

  1. Phyllis says:

    For a Texas guy transplanted in Georgia, you have given this Georgia-transplant to Texas a delicious and vicarious trip back home! Thanks . . . .

  2. Sharon Wallace says:

    Gotta love it even if it isn’t healthy.

  3. Treva says:

    I absolutely love the fair and fair food. That is the whole reason anyone goes to the fair…right? 🙂 Donnie takes advantage of every opportunity to make fun of me about fair food because in my family we stick with the same things…all things Amish! Amish people make the most amazing ham and cheese sandwhiches, very basic, but somehow taste so much better when they make it. There’s also the macaroni and cheese and “northern” chicken pot pie along with the non-Amish favorites of funnel cakes, candy apples, elephant ears, and butter dripping corn on the cob! I am so hungry right now.

  4. Candy Crum says:

    My favorite is cotton candy. I could devour several bags of it, if I allowed myself. Instead, I settle on eating one there on the stick and taking a bag to share with the rest of the family. You can now buy a small container of cotton candy at the grocery store and Walmart, but it does not even compare with the fresh smell and taste of fair cotton candy. Karcie on the other hand partakes of the Italian sausage sandwiches and turkey legs, while I would rather have a corndog and corn on the cob

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