Douglas County fair’s food options larger than life

The Douglas County Free Fair may not be the best place to go if you’re on a diet, but at the Douglas County Pork Producers tent you may be able to find a few items that won’t make you cheat on your Atkins regime.

For example, you can get a sausage on a stick. And you don’t have to eat the stick.

“We’re Atkins-friendly here,” said Mary Berg, a volunteer at the tent.

The tent even had a chart that compared the nutritional value of pork to a chicken breast.

“The kids had the charts on display in the hog barn, so we just moved them over here,” Berg said. “Everybody thinks they have to eat chicken breast if they’re on a diet. But a pork tenderloin is just as good for you or better for you than a chicken breast.”

And things just wouldn’t be the same without sausage on a stick.

“It’s a fair; everything is on a stick,” said George Hunsinger, another volunteer.

Other vendors offered other eating options but didn’t bother to call them healthy. Not that most fairgoers seemed to mind that the portions of curly fries as big as shoeboxes were teeming with carbohydrates and calories.

Jerry Wohletz, Lawrence, bought a container of curly Q fries from the Century Concessions stand.

“It’s probably not the healthiest thing, but it’s great fair food,” Wohletz said. “It looked awfully good and the kids wanted it.”

Julie Pash works at the stand operated by Century Concessions, a Lawrence-based vendor. She said each container of curly Q’s had between 2 and 2.5 pounds of potatoes.

The stand also sells large fried onion blossoms and pork tenderloin sandwiches about the size of a Frisbee.

From left, Hannah Elder, 13, Mackenzie Flory, 12, Kelly Baker, 13, and Tracie Weege, 13, all of Baldwin, enjoy their enormous order of curly fries at the Douglas County Free Fair Friday. Large portions are a county fair staple.

“They’re all larger than life,” Pash said.

Dave Kellum, the owner of Oakley Creek Catering out of Lecompton, said his stand went through 500 pounds of potatoes, 100 pounds of onions, 75 pounds of green peppers and 300 pounds of brisket during the fair.

“The big beef sandwiches do the best,” Kellum said. “We always get incredibly busy.”

The demolition derby Friday night was the lure that brought Josh and Kelly Williams, Lawrence, to the fair, but the food was also a draw. They were buying curly Q fries at the Century Concessions stand.

“This is better than normal fast food,” Josh Williams said. “You can only get this type of food at the fair.”

Kelly Williams said she was ready for the derby to begin.

“It’s my favorite sport,” she said. “I really enjoy the crashing and the mud flinging.”

Other events Friday at the fair included a llama show, poultry showmanship and a bale throwing contest.

Bryan Stone, of Lawrence, was the Feature Class winner in the demolition derby Friday night at the Douglas County Free Fair. Richard Neis, Eudora, took first place in the Compact Class.Runners-up in the derby were: Mitch Kelley, Lawrence, second place, and Doug Spencer, Lecompton, third place in the feature class.Paul Miller, Eudora, second place, and Jeremy Nichols, Lawrence, third place in the compact class.
7:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.: Accept president’s pie baking entries, Fair Board office, building 21S8 a.m.: Round Robin classic showmanship finals, community building9 a.m.-11 a.m.: Photography judging contest, building 28 a.m.-10 a.m.: FACS judging contest, building 2110 a.m.: Children’s activities, blacktop area10 a.m.-9 p.m.: Petting zoo and pony rides, building 1011 a.m.: Livestock judging contest, judging arena1 p.m.: Dairy judging contest, community building1 p.m.-5 p.m.: Family night, Reed Carnival1 p.m.: Pedal tractor pull, black top area4 p.m.: Dog agility exhibition, judging arena5 p.m.-midnight: Reed Carnival open6 p.m.-9 p.m.: Douglas County shooting sports, air rifle shoot, black top area5 p.m.: Rodeo Arena gates open6 p.m.: “Dixie Road” concert, Rodeo Arena7 p.m.: “Ricochet” concert, Rodeo Arena8 p.m.: Dierks Bentley concert, Rodeo Arena