June 30, 2016

Partly sunny

Eatin’ at the Medina County Fair: Traditional fried foods make diets go out window

The Medina County Fair opened Monday, and sweet confections and fried foods beckoned along with contests, rides and entertainment.

Some fairgoers had an idea of what they were going treat themselves to — a milkshake at the 4-H booth, steak-on-a­stick or a frozen banana.

“I wait a year for the fair to eat something greasy,” Med­ina resident Diane Gibson said. “If you can’t eat it, don’t. That’s what I say.”

With more than 100 food vendors this year, some are looking to set themselves apart.

View photos at SmugMug

Len Forthofer, aWellington resident and owner of Forthofer Concessions, adds a twist to the traditional fun­nel cake by allowing cus­tomers to add toppings. Caramel, cherry, butter­scotch, pineapple and hot fudge can be added alone or “combine them together for whatever meets their taste buds.”

“It gets people’s attention,” Forthofer said. “With the extras, they know this is not just the average generic fun­nel cake.”

At other booths dotting the fairgrounds, if the food can be deep-fried, it is, from pickles and veggies to Twinkies, Oreos and cheese­cake.

Barry Hassinger, a Tiffin resident and owner of Fun Food Concessions, had his own specialty: fried bologna. “I remember having to eat it growing up because it was cheap, so you think, ‘Why would anyone want to eat it now?’ ” Hassinger said. “But we sell a good amount of it. It’s actually quite popular.”

He said the bologna he sells is a half-inch thick and peo­ple can top it with tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise and pep­per jack cheese.

“Maybe we’re country peo­ple and we like old-fashioned food,” Hassinger said.

Like Hassinger, the bakers at Brother John’s Heavenly Bakery use old-fashioned, homemade recipes.

In the midst of all the fried finger foods, workers at Brother John’s Heavenly Bak­ery bake cookies, cinnamon rolls, strudel and giant cream puffs.

“A lot of people can’t believe it, and they come later in the evening to take something home for break­fast,” Peg Kanserski, a baker from Brunswick, said.

Brother John’s Heavenly Bakery is best known for its cream puffs, a Bavarian cream-filled pastry so large it needs two hands to hold. It is topped with chocolate frost­ing and a cherry.

“We get a lot of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs,’ I think, because ours are the biggest,” Kanserski said.

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@medina-gazette.com.