For all the pageantry of the Warren County A&L Fair, the sizzling beauty of a cheeseburger from the Lions Club food booth has a radiance of its own.
Year after year, the cheeseburger is a customer favorite.
“We’ll sell 400 burgers on a good day and I’ll say 95 percent of them are cheeseburgers,” said Doug Bost, one of the 32 Lions Club members who volunteers at the food booth. “I went from building cabinets to flipping burgers. The cabinets are a little more difficult.”
Bost has been volunteering with the Lions Club since his retirement from woodworking about two years ago. It’s been a little longer for Larry Judkins, who has been working at the Lions Club food booth for 34 years and is the organization’s longest-serving active member.
“A lot of people tell us they eat here because we bought a member of their family glasses,” said Judkins. “It might have been years ago, but they still come back and eat with us because of it. The food booth is our biggest fundraiser of the year by far. The more money we get here, the more glasses we can buy.”
The Lions Club booth has cozied up to the grandstand in its own special spot far from the other food booths. The cooking can get hectic, especially during grandstand events. There are seats for about 50 customers and sometimes orders fly from every direction.
“We’ll have them ordering from three deep,” said Ronald Glenn, a 15-year volunteer. “Every seat will be taken and there will be people trying to shout in an order from behind them.”
Glenn says he prefers to work in the kitchen area because waiting on customers “is where you get your tongue lashings,” he said. He added the vast majority of customers are happy and leave satisfied, but there’s no way to avoid the occasional bad apple.
Finding volunteer workers is among the biggest challenges, according to Judkins, in large part because of the increase in fair days.
“It used to be five days and now it’s nine days,” said Judkins. “That makes a difference.”