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Sunday, September 04, 2011

Foodie Sunday- My obsessive love for The Great Geauga County Fair & it's fabulous food & a wonderful giveaway

By Beth

Many of you have heard me speak of the meal that I would wish to eat if I knew that it would be the last that I’d ever have. Would it be gourmand or simple, fat ,sugar and grease? To me my last meal IS all of the above but hopefully I’ll go to meet my maker many years from now on Labor day weekend because the only time that I can have this wish come true in it’s purest form is when the great Geauga County Fair, the oldest fair in the grand ole state of Ohio is running at full throttle! This year, my beloved fair is 188 years old and it’s still going strong!

If you’ve read my Windsphere Witch blog, you know that I used to own a small horse farm in the country, a place that I named Windesphere because it was up on a hill with a sparkling artesian spring that ran through it. It was situated in the old civil war hamlet of Burton Ohio, a wonderful little town where they still make their own maple syrup, apple and pumpkin butter and once a year this sleepy little town comes alive with ferris wheels , heavy horse pulls and the finest fairway of food that I’ve ever seen!

I’ve been to fairs everywhere, but none have ever supplanted The Great Geauga Fair in my heart. For 5 yummy days there are farm animals everywhere, pumpkins the size of chairs and the 4H kids running all over the place with their fancy chickens , goats and cows take you back to a place and time in the world where things were just a bit simpler. There’s an apple pie contest which is brutally competitive and of course the draft horse hitch classes which I simply adore. When we made the hard decision to leave Burton almost a decade ago I made my darling husband promise me that he would bring me back to the fair every year as many times as I wanted. Incredible man that Jim is, he’s lived up to that promise, going with me almost everyday even when he doesn't want to!

I'm like a kid there and I love to spend hours there with my camera and my stomach, working up an appetite as I walk around enjoying all of the sights, smells and sounds. Farmer in my heart that I am still, I adore checking out the hay, talking to the old farmers about this years conditions and running my fingers through the fresh oats and feed corn. I love to see the flower arrangements made with dahlias the size of pie plates and the table settings, handsewn quilts and the antiques. I even entered the flower arranging contest one year and won first prize. It was such a thrill!

Eventually I’ll make my way to the fairways….first stop? Roasted sweet corn dripping with salt and butter! Next? Well if you’ve never had deep fried swiss cheese on a stick with a good dollop of mustard than you don’t know what you’re missing. Dipped in real cornbread batter and handed over meltingly sweet and piping hot this is food for the goddess. Hand cut and deep fired sweet potatoes dipped in a bit of salt and fresh maple syrup? Ambrosia all washed down with a giant mug of brich beer. A late night snack of the finest beef jerky ever? Absolutely! My husband adores the fresh milk chocolate shakes from the 4H stand and the pierogies drenched in onions and the garlic bratwursts but I never stray from my true hearts desire. This is seasonal food at it’s best and it wouldn’t taste nearly as good to me at any other time of the year. The entire atmosphere is a natural perfumers delight full of scents fruity and floral, pungent and animalitic and my long time favorites…newly mown hay , heavy horses and sweet windfall apples. The entire place becomes a five day feast for the senses that makes it easy to contemplate climbing back into Autumns heavy sweaters and Wellington boots!

I’ve been to the fair twice so far this year and right now I’m about to get up and go yet again! Every year I’m tempted by something new (deep fried snickers bars anyone?) but I always remain true to my meltingly oozy , dripping and savory swiss cheese on a stick. So I’m curious? Are any of you obsessive fair goers like me? And what do you like to eat when you’re there?

So I’m off to the fair again and I’m about to bring back something special for one of you. I’m not yet sure what it is, so you’ll have to trust me! Your comment ensures you a place in the draw. I’ll choose the winner on Tuesday morning so please check back next week !

You can see some pictures of my beloved fair at

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Blogger Flora said...

Oh how fun! I have just such a fair in my past too, smaller than yours but just as memorable. Sitting in the grass on the "big hill" watching the horses pull weights on the stone boat was an unassailable annual ritual. The food? Roasted corn with butter of course!

We also went to goat shows, because when I was a child my grandfather raised dairy goats, and we went to see the various breeds of goats parade in a small ring showing off their finer points. The big treat at these events was goat milk ice cream, a rare treat that puts most cow's milk ice cream to shame with its richness.

No need to enter me in the contest, but thanks for the trip down memory lane! :-)

12:23 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Oh, we don't have that here. We have out Farmer's Market which is wonderful with the petting zoo and the pie bakes (Piesta!) and the chili cook-offs. But not like that.

12:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Oh my! Goats milk ice cream! That sounds fabulous....

8:26 AM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

I love it! Piesta! And your farmers markets? I dream about them!

8:28 AM EDT  
Anonymous RusticDove said...

Your favorite fair is a feast for all the senses for sure! My favorite event in the fall is not exactly a fair, but a weekend festival at the "pick your own" farm around the corner from us. There's hayrides and pumpkin patches and these giant witches they construct around a huge cauldron, whom I take a picture with every year. Our favorite treats include apple fritters, sweet potato fries and the giant smoked turkey legs - all washed down with delicious spicy apple cider. A menagerie of goats, llamas, chickens, mini horses, etc. reside there. Simply walking around and exploring the farm itself, acres & acres of fields, ponds and fruit trees, is such a fun way to spend a beautiful fall day. This has become a tradition for us and we look forward to it every year!

9:48 AM EDT  
Blogger vicuna1 said...

I grew up with the Richland County Fair, but now am a few miles from the Ohio State Fair. Love the horse, cow and sheep/goat barns, and never miss the sheep shearing competitions. I skip the hog/pig barns as a little too odiferous for me. Love the hay competition, just for the smell and the amazement of being able to judge one pile of dried fodder as the best, but the smell of hay and straw is like a vacation. The last time I went I got to milk a cow by hand...much more difficult than you would think! Great memories!

9:55 AM EDT  
Blogger MoonRae said...

Sounds like a great time to be had by all!! Thanks for sharing, we don't really have any fairs like that here in the far west TX desert

11:43 AM EDT  
Blogger ccdouglass said...

I'm in northeast Ohio too, but I've never been to the Geauga County Fair. Your description really makes me want to check it out, though! :-)

12:19 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


2:12 PM EDT  
Anonymous Lavanya said...

I've gone to a fair in the U.S only once..I didn't enjoy it as much as I expected to- but I do like the sound of your fair- I never thought I'd be tempted by fried swiss cheese on a stick - but it sounds heavenly..(I love the bits of gruyere/comte that accidentally get fried when I am making grilled cheese)..

I did enjoy one particular fair in India- I remember eating lots of cotton candy and a particularly tasty fried lentil/rice wafer..

I LOVE my local farmer's market though- especially the goat cheese stalls..And this Italian stall where I've tasted some of the yummiest Italian food outside of Italy.

2:54 PM EDT  
Blogger Acorn Alley said...

I miss fairs! In southwest VA there were great ones - I especially enjoyed the Montgomery county fair, with lots of animals on display, and the Floyd county Barter Faire, where all kinds of handmade lovelies were available for sale or trade. I haven't found any fairs out here in El Paso.

9:33 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds truly amazing!

We have a special fair here in Maine called the Common Ground Fair. It's a celebration of organic farming. It's a little less traditional than some of the other fairs around here, but I love it. They offer unusual organic food, artisans selling their wares, and, of course, all the usual agricultural displays.

Ann C.

8:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Isa said...

Oh my God! How I wish to be there! It sounds so enjoyable! The apples in the picture make my mouth water :)

11:48 AM EDT  
Blogger a.k.a. Warum said...

I love surprises, but the mention of pierogi with bratwurst makes me run to find some lunch!

2:49 PM EDT  
Blogger Dink said...

The food sounds wonderful and we will have to remember this fair for next year. Thanks to you, we attended Burton for the maple syrup time.

11:33 PM EDT  
Blogger sunnlitt said...

We have a great County Fair here, but I don't go as often as did when I was youngish.
The theme this year is "Dancing with the Steers for 200 Years". They are celebrating 200 years of Ag Fairs.
It is a wonderful stroll down memory lane. One of my favorite places on the Fairgrounds is the buildings with the flower and garden displays.
I have learned my lesson, though, and stay away from the fried foods!!

12:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Carol said...

I have lived all my life in Northeast Ohio, and The Great Geauga County Fair is indeed the best! Thank you for this treat - I am unable to attend this fair this year.

5:41 PM EDT  
Blogger Charna said...

Beth, I love reading your culinary descriptions! My mouth is watering. I love corn on the cob slathered with salt and butter! Your posts make me smile. This brought back fond memories of rural country fairs here in New England I visited as a child. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I find you and your writing upbeat and positive and happy, and in turn reminds me to appreciate all the good things in my own life.

1:44 PM EDT  
Blogger Ľubaša said...

I think that time of typical fairs brings a lot of joy and fun for their visitors. I live in area without any fairs offering typical local products. I dont count fairs with chinese clothes and so on. Its a pity that we dont have such lovely habit here.
lubaska dot k at gmail dot com

3:53 PM EDT  

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