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Fair food will return for July 4th weekend at Fairgrounds

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 June 2020 at 10:18 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Marty Zwifka (left), fair manager, and Robert Batt, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County, are pictured by one of the food stands that will be set up at the fairgrounds from Friday through Sunday.

KNOWLESVILLE – There will be a taste of the fair this weekend at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds.

The fair, scheduled for late a week in late July, has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, some of the food vendors will be at the fairgrounds from Friday through Sunday during the Fourth of July weekend.

The take-out only event will include some fair favorites: taffy, fudge, corn dogs, a gourmet grilled cheeseburger, pizza, and barbecued and smoked pork. There could also be a vendor with funnel cakes and fried Oreos.

“We wanted to give everybody a taste of the fair,” said Marty Zwifka, the fair manager.

The event will run from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Nearly all of the fairs and festivals have been cancelled for the food vendors. Some of those businesses have been in families for generations.

“They are hurting a lot,” said Robert Batt, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County, which owns the fairgrounds. “They’ve lost the whole summer.”

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Lauren, Jack and Scott Kolassa of Churchville work in the family’s taffy, fudge and candy apple booth at the Orleans County 4-H Fair in this photo from July 2018. The family will be serving fair food this weekend at the fairgrounds. In this photo, Scott holds a chunk of taffy, which he is ready to pull.

Scott Kolassa of Churchville runs a taffy, candy apple and fudge booth, as well as a lemonade stand. He reached out to Batt about allowing some of the vendors to set up for the weekend at the fairgrounds.

He did a similar event in Clarence, and there was a big response from the community. Scott’s dad started the business about 65 years ago.

Batt said many of the vendors aren’t available because they have shut down for the season. Many of those vendors can’t secure employees or insurance for a one-time event.

Batt said there will be six or seven booths at the fairgrounds and they will be spaced apart about 10 feet. Customers need to wear masks and practice social distancing. They also need to eat the food in their vehicles and dispose of their own garbage.

Although the fair is cancelled in July, the Cooperative Extension will be doing a drive-through chicken barbecue on July 23. Batt said the Extension will be preparing 1,200 dinners for that event.

Some of the food vendors are shown during the fair last year while fireworks go off. The booths will be spaced apart about 10 feet during this weekend’s event.

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