State and county fair season has arrived, and that means there will be rides and games galore. While many people are drawn to fairs by the entertainment, just as many are willing to stand in line for the unique and tasty foods that seem to embody fair and carnival fun. If it can be served on a stick or deep fried, chances are you can find it at a fair. Everything from chocolate-dipped bacon to deep-fried butter may turn up on fair stand menus. The following are some of the more coveted foods revelers can expect to find at their local fairs and carnivals.
• Funnel cake: Funnel cake and its close cousin, zeppole, have long been fair favorites. Topped with powdered sugar, funnel cakes can be pulled apart and shared with others.
• Corn dogs: Corn dogs are essentially hot dogs on a stick that have been covered in cornmeal and fried. Like funnel cakes, corn dogs have become so synonymous with fairs and carnivals that few people have ever enjoyed them anywhere outside of their local fairgrounds.
• French fries: French fries are a favorite at fairs, and carnival-goers can choose from savory shoestrings to hearty steak-cut potato chunks.
• Cotton candy: What fair would be complete without a cotton candy vendor? Cotton candy is made by heating up granulated sugar until it is liquified enough to be blown into thin threads. Those threads are collected and wound into a sweet treat that is loved by kids and adults alike.
• Pie: Fair-goers are likely to happen upon a pie-eating contest or pie-tasting tent. Many prefer to indulge in a piece of pie while at the fair, preferring such treats to sweeter, heavier desserts.
• Corn on the cob: Corn on the cob is proof that carnivals and fairs provide some healthy fare for customers in addition to the many decadent treats on display. Corn on the cob is most popular in corn-producing areas and can be the ideal complement to burgers and other fair foods.
• Anything on a stick: Each year fair vendors experiment with culinary oddities that can be served on a stick. One day it may be skewered pork chops and the next a sleeve of cookies. Those who want the full fair experience should consider trying something served on a stick.
Summer is synonymous with many things, including festivals. Music fans love the festival circuit because it gives them a chance to see many of their favorite musicians in a single place while simultaneously enjoying the great outdoors. Foodies enjoy festival season because they have the opportunity to try a variety of new foods in a single day or weekend without having to travel far and wide.
Festival season also tends to be family-friendly, providing families with numerous chances to spend quality time together. Festival season is even more enjoyable when parents take the time to plan their visits so their Saturday or Sunday afternoons at festivals go as smoothly as possible.
· Do your homework. Festivals tend to offer an array of entertainment and cuisine, and that can be a lot to digest all at once. Parents can ensure they get everything they want out of a festival by studying the festival schedule and offerings ahead of time rather than arriving and trying to take in everything at once.
· Bring supplies. Conditions can be unpleasant during summer festival season, when rising temperatures and long lines can try families’ patience. Bring enough sunscreen to ensure no one gets sunburned, and explore the festival guidelines in advance to determine what you can bring onto the festival grounds. If it’s permissable to bring water onto the grounds, bring enough to keep everyone hydrated. In addition, bring hats and sunglasses as well as bug spray to keep potentially pesky insects at bay.
· Explore transportation options. Festivals can attract considerable crowds, and families who want to avoid being stuck in traffic should explore their options with regard to getting to and from the festivals they plan to visit. Use public transportation where available. Public transportation can help families avoid potentially costly parking fees and relieve parents of the stress of navigating traffic jams. If public transportation is not available, look for free or low-cost parking lots in the vicinity of the festival.
· Consider the viability of strollers. Parents who typically transport their tots in strollers may want to reconsider taking strollers to summer festivals. Large crowds can be difficult to negotiate with strollers in tow, and parents may find strollers more frustrating than functional at popular festivals. If you must bring a stroller, leave the large jogging stroller at home in favor of a compact stroller that’s comfortable for kids and easy to push through crowds.
Summer festival season tends to be family-friendly, and parents can take certain steps to ensure the coming festival season is even more enjoyable.