My Deep Fried Venture to the Erie County Fair

“Would you like melted butter on that?” This wasn’t the first thing overheard during last weekend’s visit to the Erie County Fair. But it made a lasting, tasty impression.

Last weekend marked the seasonal wrap-up of the Erie County Fair – an annual suburban feast for the eyes and stomach, and general playground for those who are, literally or figuratively, kids at heart.

In my year-plus as a Western New Yorker, I’ve learned that the Fair is an informal rite of passage. If you lived here anytime after 1820 – a generous age demographic – you’ve likely been there at least once. And at the behest (read: dare) of my 19 IDEAS colleagues, I enthusiastically accepted the challenge to visit. It seemed only fitting to make it a family affair and bring my wife, mother and baby daughter. Naturally, the youngest was the most prepared. Look at that game face.

 The ensuing two hours lived up to expectations. In public relations, there are a few intangibles that go into a memorable experience. Fittingly, this checked all the boxes:

  1. Make a Good First Impression. – Entering the grounds, we were greeted by adjacent features of “Bear Country” and “Hudson Magic Midway.” The latter appeared to involve black lights and glow sticks. Bonus points for originality.
  2. Feed Guests. Often. – You can fry just about anything under the sun. Fittingly, there were many fryers and lots of sun. Just don’t ask for root vegetables. Stick with root beer.
  3. Stay Authentic. – Amidst the rides, games, food, vendors, and feature shows, there is a real sense of community pride. Multiple exhibits featured prize-winning quilts, artisan crafts and displays contributed from around the region. Some truly impressive.
  4. Show Them a Good Time. – The Fair features an animal community that would make Noah proud. Horses, grizzly bears, snakes, birds, and even a baby kangaroo!
  5. Leave Them Wanting More. – For all you can pack into two hours, more awaits. From a marathon game of “I Got It!” to demolition derby, there are plenty of reasons to channel your inner carnival nerd. Our contributions didn’t win prizes, but I still got to take home a trophy. On to next year.

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