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Medina County Fair

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.

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.

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