Many people look forward to the fair and it just wouldn’t be a full experience without traditional fair food.
The Allen County Fair returns July 27-Aug. 1 at 2726 Carroll Road, Fort Wayne.
Of course the midway will be flanked by booths offering popular fair treats. Every year, too, the fair offers a variety of food events that serve as fundraisers for local organizations.
According to Janet Turnbow, president of the Allen County Extension Homemakers, its pulled pork dinner is a great way to raise funds for classes and events. In fact, it’s one of their biggest fundraisers.
“We are new at it, this is probably our third year,” Turnbow said. “Last year, it was cancelled because of COVID.”
Despite the event being newer, attendance has been climbing ever since they started, she said.
The dinner is Wednesday, July 28, from 5-7 p.m. at the Home and Family Arts Building on the west side of the fairgrounds. A dinner consists of barbecue pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw, applesauce and cakes and cookies for dessert.
The pulled pork event was originally run by a local church and its a core of longtime volunteers, according to Turnbow, and when the church had to bow out due to a lack of volunteers three years ago, the Extension Homemakers took it over.
Turnbow said it takes at least 10 people to run the event, as well as runners to serve people. Volunteers take breaks as needed.
With the uncertainty of whether the event would happen this year due to COVID, the Homemakers planned ahead by reserving more space, in case county regulations changed and required social distancing be maintained.
“If something should happen, we already have that space allotted,” Turnbow said.
The Huntertown Lions also relies on its annual fish fry fundraiser, which has been held for 16 years, with the exception of last year.
“It all started with Richard Fritz. He used to host fish fries at Carroll High School. The Lions eventually took it over,” Howard Gudakunst said.
It’s so successful that the Huntertown Lions go through nearly 300 lbs of fish, according to Gudakunst.
“They give you two pieces of Alaska pollock or a tenderloin sandwich, coleslaw, potato salad, applesauce and cookies and refreshments,” he said.
The fish fry needs 30 people to run, with 15 servers, six fryers, two cashiers and seven to help bread the fish.
“I think families like to come, bring their kids, see the fair, ride the rides. It’s a family tradition for many. Older people like to come early,” Gudakunst said.
Another appeal to the event is it’s held indoors, where people can escape the heat and enjoy some air conditioning. The event does well regardless, Gudakunst said.
The Cedar Creek Lions Clubs will host its all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast at the Home and Family Arts Building on Saturday, July 31, from 7-10 a.m. The event has been an annual tradition since 1993.
According to a press release, the event is open to the public for all the firefighters in Fort Wayne and Allen County, as a way of saying thank you for all they do. Firefighters get a free breakfast and their families will get a special discount.
The cost for the public is $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 7-9 and free for children age 6 and under.
According to the press release, the Lions Club performs many projects in order to provide support to the local community and to provide assistance to all who request it, thus they rely on events such as these to raise funds.
Whether it’s pulled pork, pancakes or maybe even a lemon shake-up, nothing makes it taste sweeter than the fair.