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When you visit the fair, be sure to come hungry
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With a food court surpassing any mega mall in the country, Warren County A&L Fair offers a cornucopia of reasons for waist lines to expand during the second full week of September.
Not counting food and snack shops on the midway and near the grandstands, the annual fair exhibition offers 13 volunteer-run eateries to choose from, all earning money to fund the various community centers, churches and clubs.
“It’s the same every year,” said Beckee Bell of Midway CIC food booth, noting fair visitors have become accustomed to the tastes of fall when the fair comes each year. “The catfish and our greasy cheeseburger are the favorites.”
The Midway operation is a two-story booth. Most of the cooking goes on upstairs and then the food is sent down by dumb waiter for service to the customers. The dumb waiter, Bell noted, came about because servers were having to carry down plates of fish from upstairs, their trips causing the steps to become treacherous.
“The steps would get greasy pretty quick,” she said.
Across the way in the North Hills booth, Munice Harris will put their catfish up against anyone’s at the fair. North Hills’ barbecue is also the best, she said, referring to it as “holy BBQ” which is  a must-try for hungry fair-goers.
However, if it’s heat you’re looking for, the First Assembly of God is ready to deliver a fire and brimstone message to your taste buds.
“We are known as the hot booth,” said volunteer Kenny Chisam noting there is at least four menu items guaranteed to warrant drink re-fills.
“We have things like the Volcano Burger that really brings the heat,” he said, noting the Assembly has been working the booth for seven years. “Of course our best seller is our walking taco because people can walk around and eat if they want.”
Next door the Jaycees offer a taste of the tropics with their Island Cheeseburger.
“We use homemade pineapple salsa in it,” said volunteer Jenny Pennington of the tasty burger. “Our BBQ baked potato and our taco salads are also a hit.”
Within waving distance, Centertown CIC, in their first year of operation at their present booth say they can best describe their booth in three words (if you don’t count hyphens)- open-face roasted beef.
“It’s delicious,” volunteer Carolyn Judkins put simply.
At the top of the food court, Covenant awaits hungry diners who are leaving the grandstands area. Their large menu offers a favorite they’ve served most of their 10 years as a booth at the fair.
“Our cheese steak is a big favorite,” said volunteer Angela Brown pointing back to Aaron Knight working over the hot stove in the back. “That and our chocolate cobbler are big sellers.”
Their neighbor, Wayside CIC, offers High Roller Smokers BBQ along with other traditional items.
“We have home-made pies, white beans and corn bread and many home favorites,” said volunteer Janell Hawkins.
Bar-b-que is also a main seller at the Morrison Ruritan booth,the second on the right when walking toward the Midway. Morrison Ruritan serves Prater’s BBQ including Prater’s famous BBQ ribs and sandwiches. The booth also features homemade desserts and Ball Park hot dogs. “We have the big hot dogs as well as hamburgers, cheeseburgers and food you normally think of for fair food. Our food is delicious,” said Morrison Mayor Sue Anderson.
Anderson said the booth has been at the fair for at least 30 years. “I worked at this booth when I was in high school. We used to raise money for our trips. It used to be Morrison High School’s booth and the Ruritan took it over.”
While the name of their booth is the longest at the fair - The First Church of Jesus Christ Apostolic Faith - they offer a crowd favorite from their location at the edge of the midway.
“Our steak burger is very good,” said volunteer Patricia Nunley, noting they also offer an open-face roast beef and peach cobbler as part of their large menu.
As for being at the very edge of the midway where the noise of side-show barkers and weight-guessers can sometimes become monotonous, Nunley said it’s no big deal.
“After a while you learn to tone it all out,” she noted.
Their fellow booth just before the midway offers a menu that is very familiar to fair-goers.
“We have the Bronco Burger as always,” said volunteer Lisa Zavogiannis at the Boyd Christian School booth. “And, if you want to spice it up a little we have the Bucking Bronco which brings some heat.”
The aforementioned booths along with the others in the food court will be open through Saturday, many open day and night.