Tag Archives: Fair

Fair Season: What exactly is that ?! {part 2}

If you didn’t read the first part about what the lead-up to fair week is you can find that post HERE.

Fair Season What Exactly Is that!

The craziness of the weeks before the fair intensify ten-fold the week OF the fair.

What actually happens during fair-week?

We start serving food on Sunday, the fair doesn’t officially open until Monday, but it gives you a chance to work out any kinks. In the mornings Matt usually leaves the house by 7 to run errands. He goes any gets any food, drinks, etc that he may need, if he didn’t the night before. He spends all day working right alongside our staff. We start serving around 10:30am and are open until 10:30pm, sometimes earlier or later depending on what events are scheduled at the fairgrounds at night. And, of course, there is always laundry to get done.

Every day they serve a full menu: Hamburgers/Cheeseburgers, Hot Dogs, Sausage, Fried Sea Food, Local Corn on the Cob and Salt Potatoes, Fruit Salad, Fries, Onion Rings, Pizza Rolls, Fish Sandwiches, Nachos, and drinks. When I say it is a full restaurant…it is a FULL RESTAURANT. We have a complete menu.


Once they close up, all of the equipment gets cleaned, things get restocked, employees leave, then Matt runs a few errands {he doesn’t have time to do them all in the morning or after work}, comes home, showers, and then does the bookkeeping. Put on repeat, ad nauseum for all week long, for 7 days.  Matt usually doesn’t get in bed until 2 or 3am, then is back up and out the door by 7am. I think he makes up for the lack of sleep the rest of the year.

The last day of the fair is a Saturday. Sunday is spent scrubbing all the equipment, dealing with all the leftover food/drinks/etc, unassembling everything, and putting it all away until next year. Tear down goes a lot faster than setup. The following week I spend doing whatever laundry didn’t get done on a daily basis…all the tablecloths, tees, kitchen towels etc. Then there is payroll to be done, taxes, and all of the lovely bills and paperwork that need to be taken care of.

This year during fair-week my in laws asked me if I could do peaches for their stand. Their dessert item is fresh homemade peach shortcake…and it really is fresh and it really is homemade. Between everything else going on I spent time blanching and peeling peaches for shortcake. My sister and I prepared around 12 half-bushels of peaches; which meant we blanched them, peeled them, and sliced them up into a simple syrup and delivered the days peaches every morning….with 6 kids between us. I did share a bit about peaches on Instagram and Periscope {you can find the periscope videos here}.


In years past the kids and I would go over to the fairgrounds at least once a day to visit Daddy and eat. This year I just didn’t have it in me to push the quad stroller all around with a 13lb baby strapped to my chest. In the afternoon/evenings there are so many people there that it’s hard to walk around with a stroller, I much prefer the mornings. For most of the week we headed to the pool in the afternoon instead of the fairgrounds.

That’s pretty much what fair season and fair week are for us: A lot of work, a lot of stress, and it’s only by God’s goodness and grace we actually get through it. This was the first year I actually made it all the way through the whole thing without having a stressed out crying jag.


Until next year…..

Fair Season: What exactly is that?! {part 1}

I’ve had a couple of people ask me just what is “Fair Season”; I often forget that most peoples lives aren’t lived for a huge event that becomes all consuming once a year. For us, that is “Fair Season”.

Matt and I both have very similar family backgrounds in this respect. I grew up doing farmers’ markets and festivals with my parents…sometimes it was selling the sausage and meats my dad made {he is a wurstmacher* by trade} so people could go home and cook it and sometimes it was selling them cooked to lots of hungry people. Matt’s family has had a concession stand at the county fair for almost 30 years…selling hamburgers, hot dogs, and such faire. Both of us wanted to get away from all of it and somehow we’re back in it on our own. Funny how life works.

Fair Season What Exactly Is that!

It’s a hard business. It’s a lot of work. And no one sees any of it, except getting their food. That’s how the food industry is…no one sees anything but the end product and never truly appreciates what they’re eating until they do {for those who were wondering…it doesn’t just magically appear on your plate}.

So what does fair season entail for us? In June we start with calling all of the people who worked for us the year before, anywhere from 10-15 people, to find out whether they’re wanting to work this fair or not. Sometimes everyone comes back and all things are in order quickly, sometimes we’re scrambling up until the week before to find people, and sometimes we have people who walk off the job on the first day {those are always the best!}.

My birthday {July 21st} is usually the last hurrah, the end of our summer. Matt and I try and make a point of going out for my birthday, because it is really the last time that we will have time together before the end of August.

Pretty quickly Matt’s weekends are spent driving to the nearest city {an hour one way} that has a wholesale club. There are numerous trips back and forth getting soda, paper products, and countless other things that are needed to actually setup and run the stand. There’s equipment that needs to be looked over and checked out {large 4’ commercial griddles, steam tables, several fryers, gas lines, power lines,  counters, tables, sinks and plumbing}. There are orders that need to be placed with vendors who supply us with materials {shirts for employees, food products to sell etc}. And all of this happens while Matt is still working his other job, which is also in its busy season.

The two weekends before fair week Matt is busy with getting things setup. All of the equipment has to be brought in, setup, leveled, made sure that it works and is ready to rock n’ roll. It all takes time. It all requires attention to detail. This is all the stuff that no one sees. Most people have no concept of what goes in to setting up a full fledged RESTAURANT in the middle of a field for a week.

Fair Stand

Hopefully everything is setup in working order before the first day of the fair. Sometimes a piece of equipment has an issue and you have to scramble to fix it or replace it. Just this year we had a freezer go out {we have 3 of them and a walk in}, Matt had to clean everything out of our home chest freezer to use it at the fair. Other years it’s been a gas line or a burner for a grill or fryer. There’s always something, the problem is…you don’t know what, so you can’t prepare for it.

In the days before the fair Matt receives in all of our food orders to our big walk-in freezer/fridge, he also handles his father’s and a couple of other customers. Since Matt’s job with my parents is food provisions for restaurants and delis he has several customers for that business that have orders specifically for fair week, which creates that much more work.

The day before the fair Matt starts packing the freezers and fridges at the fair with the food he will need. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough room to house everything we will need for the entire week, so every night, after working all day, he has to go and bring more food back down to the fairgrounds.

Next time I’ll share what exactly fair week is like…

*What’s a wurstmacher? It’s a German word for someone who is a true artisan when it comes to sausage making. We’re not talking Johnsonville Brats, but someone who has honed their craftsmanship of making sausage. These are not mass-produced sausages, but sausages that are made in small batches, created entirely by hand.