Fair favorites lure loyal eaters

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor



If you go

What: Clark County Fair.

Hours Monday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: 17402 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield.

Admission: adults, $10; seniors 62 and older, $8; kids 7-12, $5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, $7 after 5 p.m.; kids 6 and younger, free. Group packs are available for admission discounts daily.

Parking and transportation: parking, $6 per vehicle; C-Tran shuttle, $2 round trip from area park-and-ride lots. C-Tran riders get a $1 discount on fair admission. C-Tran fair schedules: C-Tran.

Carnival: noon to 10 p.m.; unlimited rides, $25.

Grandstands: Dierks Bentley with Josh Kelley at 7:30 p.m.; tickets include fair admission. Wild & Wooly Show at 2 p.m., free with fair admission. Pro Bull Riding at 6:30 p.m., free with fair admission.

Other highlights: Ann Makar at noon; Bronkar Lee’s Circus of Sound at 1, 3 and 6 p.m.

Pets: Not permitted, except for personal service animals or those on exhibition or in competition.

Information: Clark County Fair or 360-397-6180.

For some, the Clark County Fair is a perfect venue to dine mightily. And the three of us were up to the duty.

Accompanied by my wife, Jill Kern, and photographer Steven Lane, I had a simple Sunday afternoon mission: Eat well at the fair.

There are 48 food and snack booths at the fair, so how to decide? We asked our friends on The Columbian’s Facebook page to show us the way. We decided to buy three main dishes and three desserts, all suggested by these friends.

If we missed your favorite booth, let us know at The Columbian under this story or on our Facebook page.

Food 4 You, a private business

Item selected: Shrimp Louis Salad.

Price: $9.70, including an Arnold Palmer — half iced tea and half lemonade

Noteworthy: This is the first fair year for chef Greg Taylor and his partner, Anthony Emerson, though Taylor said he’s been serving food at festivals for 25 years. “We’re using local farmers. Our major goal is to provide the Clark County Fair with healthy options … and send our kids to college,” Taylor said. He and Emerson are from Vancouver. Taylor said the favorites are the Southwest Chicken Wrap and the Mediterranean Wrap. He said he donates a portion of profits each year to a charity.

Comments from buyers: “It’s fresh, crunchy, and it’s healthy,” said Tami Congleton of Battle Ground about her wrap. “It’s delicious.” Added Jill Kern, “It’s really good because there’s more toppings than lettuce (in the salad).”

Irish Sundae, Job’s Daughters, Bethel 38.

Item selected: The Works Potato, loaded with bacon bits, sausage, sour cream and cheese.

Price: $5.

Noteworthy: Job’s Daughters have been selling the famous potato dish since 1975. In the early years, all of the ingredients were baked in members’ homes and brought to the fair, said David Daily of Vancouver. Today, there are two large convection ovens to bake the spuds. The organization hopes to clear $25,000 from the fair. All booths pay the fair 25 percent of their take. “We have people come and say we’re the only reason they come to the fair,” said Vancouver’s Karen Marshall, who is on the adult council.

Comments from buyers: “We buy ’em every year. It’s one of our first choices,” said Carol McDonald of Washougal. Columbian photographer Lane said, “Delicious. It’s my breakfast, lunch and dinner. Only thing better is if we were in Ireland on a cold winter morning.”

Ridgefield Lions booth

Item selected: Double Cheeseburger Basket.

Price: $9, including fries and a big Pepsi.

Noteworthy: John Bean of Ridgefield said the booth has been at the fair at least 30 years. The Lions hope to make $35,000 for their activities. “We’re usually rated as the highest burger at the fair,” Bean said.

Comments from buyers: “This is good,” said Portland’s Russ Reynolds. “It’s nice and moist and not overcooked. The veggies seem reasonably fresh.” As for me, the basket was filling, very filling and good. It was nice to visit a booth with a long history. But let’s be honest, I’ve been loyal to Onionaire for years, and that business is not at the fair this year, so I missed the onions. At least two other booths promise burgers with sweet onions.

Blondie’s Funnel cakes

Item selected: Deep-Fried Oreos.

Price: $5 for four Oreos. Items range from $4 to $7.50. Maybe you’d like Deep-Fried Cheesecake.

Noteworthy: Jackie Bradbury said she’s been coming to the fair from Arizona for 12 years. Bradbury said it’s been slow this year at her booth. As for her selections, she said many people “at first say ‘Ohhh, yuck,’ but when they taste it, it’s ‘Ohhh yum.’”

Comments from buyers: We chose Jill Kern to sample this booth that probably would make first lady Michelle Obama cringe. “They’re OK,” Jill said of the fried cookie. “I wouldn’t have them again. It’s more like a doughnut.”

Clark County Dairy Women

Item selected: Peach Milkshake

Price: $5, with a souvenir cup.

Noteworthy: This booth is celebrating its 51st year at the fair, said Lacey Woodside of La Center. You can pay 50 cents more and get extra fruit in your shake. They expect to serve 16,000 shakes and 16,000 cones at the fair. “It’s so nice to hear somebody say, ‘You’re our first stop at the fair. You’re the best at the fair,’” said Sue Barr of Vancouver, who has been working at the booth since 1992. Woodside said the booth expected to make well in excess of $35,000. The peach shake is the most popular item.

Comments from buyers: “The shakes are excellent,” said Ryan Hads. He and Paige Scott, both of Vancouver, were having chocolate milkshakes. Lane enjoyed his peach shake and said, “Refreshing, as always.”

Southridge Community of Christ

Item selected: Huckleberry Pie with Soft Vanilla Ice Cream.

Price: $6.50.

Noteworthy: The booth dates back to the 1940s, church members say. The church is just two blocks away from the fairgrounds. The 20- to 25-person baking team turns out more than 900 pies for the fair. They bring in about 85 a day. Susan Powell Groat, working in the booth, said the baking team suffered a great loss in January with the death of “Pie Angel” Charlotte Zimmerly, the “filling lady.” She said Zimmerly’s daughter, Becky Swedblom, has stepped into that crucial job. And then there’s this: “Men want to know the names of the crustmakers, and we get many offers of marriage,” said booth volunteer Darrel Kreglo.

Comments from buyers: “It’s just like my mother’s (peach pie),” said Suzane Koch of La Center. “I’m not kidding. This is the reason I come to the fair.” As for me, I thought the huckleberry pie a la mode was heavenly, and it was nice to chat with folks while at one of the seven counter chairs.