October 1, 2012

Fryeburg Fair: Finding upsides to a downpour

Opening day features no traffic backups or waits for rides, and deep-fried anything.

By Beth Quimby bquimby@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

FRYEBURG - While walking through the Fryeburg Fair midway, Scott Phair made a sudden detour to the Royal Apple Co. food stand.

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Jesse Kelley 17, of Salisbury New Hampshire, grooms Sabbath, a Guernsey cow at the Fryeburg Fair Sunday. Kelley was preparing to show Sabbath at the fair.

Photos by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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Fairgoers break out umbrellas as they make their way into the Fryeburg Fair on Sunday.

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FAIR FACTS

THE FAIR continues daily through Oct. 7

EXHIBITION HALLS are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on the final Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

ADMISSION is $10, free for children under 12. Admission is free for people 65 and older on Tuesday.

MORE INFORMATION is available online at www.fryeburgfair.org or by telephone at 935-3268.

"Deep-fried Oreos, how can you pass that up?" Phair asked.

It was either that or deep-fried whoopie pies. When his order was served, the Manchester resident groaned with pleasure.

"Oh man, with chocolate sauce," he said.

Phair and thousands of other fairgoers braved the rain on opening day to view the exhibits, ride the amusements and ingest a whole bunch of food that can only be found at a country fair. There were upsides to the rain, pelting at times: the fair's notorious traffic backups failed to materialize, there was no wait to go on the Tilt-A-Whirl and diners received immediate service at the food stands.

The 162-year-old fair, which attracts about 300,000 visitors each year, runs through Oct. 7. The fair features traditional agricultural events, nightly entertainment and rows of exhibitors peddling excursion boats, portable saunas, pink cowboy hats and log houses.

The food offerings were vast, falling into one of four categories: traditional fare such as candied apples, deep-fried anything, turkey and just strange.

"It's all about offering something different," said Roger Guppill of Mechanic Falls.

Guppill operates Belly Busters and Blooming Onions, side-by-side food stands, featuring deep-fried macaroni and cheese, deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, deep-fried cookie dough and deep-fried onions.

"We make it, freeze it, batter it and fry it until it gets nice and gooey," Guppill said.

For the health conscious, the Hot Apple Buns stand was deep-frying pickles, broccoli, carrots and other vegetables.

Turkey was another common menu theme. Some dined on giant turkey drumsticks at $6 each. Missy and Pete's served deep-fried turkey dinners and Thanksgiving sandwiches.

"I get the oil going at 375 degrees, drop a 15-pound turkey in very carefully and it takes about 40 minutes to cook," said Pete Grant of West Gardiner.

Across the way at J and J Concessions, the Gobbler Potato -- an entire Thanksgiving dinner served on a baked spud for $8 -- was the featured entree. Owner Hope Pinard of Lakeville, Mass., said people make Thanksgiving leftovers into sandwiches, so "why not a potato?"

Sarah Clark, 12, of Berlin, N.H., described the result as scrumptious.

"It is a perfect combination," said Clark, who admitted she would eat just about anything.

And for those who just wanted strange, there were baloney burgers, Spamburgers and soup in a bun.

But Ryan Carey, owner of Pizza Pie on the Fly, said nothing could beat his beer-infused sausage pizza slices baked in a portable brick oven.

"It's pretty nice," Carey said. 

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

bquimby@pressherald.com

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Additional Photos

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Eric Buehler, 3, of Boxford, Mass., is ready for the weather with an umbrella and bright rain boots at the Fryeburg Fair.

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Ryan Carey of Pizza Pie on the Fly takes a steaming hot pizza from the brick oven to serve at the Fryeburg Fair on Sunday.

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Kempton Rich of Sebago holds his 13-month-old son, Kayden, on the merry-go-round at the Fryeburg Fair on Sunday. It was Kayden’s first ride on a merry-go-round.



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