WILMOT — While animal exhibits and carnival rides are an important part of any fair-going experience, so too is the food.
On the cusp of its centennial celebration, officials behind the 99th annual Kenosha County Fair say they are attempting to intermingle time-honored traditions with new twists to ensure no two fair-going experiences are alike.
This mantra is especially true when it comes to the edible goodies found throughout the fairgrounds, said Leah Blair, an office assistant helping oversee operations at this year’s five-day fair extravaganza.
A number of time-honored food vendors are on hand at the Kenosha County Fair through Sunday, including local restaurants and organizations, such as the Kenosha County 4-H.
But this year’s fair also features a number of new vendors, offering up everything from coffee to kettle corn.
By her estimation, Blair said about one-fourth of this year’s food establishments are new to the fairgrounds. The other 75 percent of the vendors have been doing business on the fairgrounds for a number of years.
“We do have a lot of veterans,” Blair said. “They know the drill, and they’ve been with us for a number of years. People look forward to coming back every year and going to a lot of these places.”
Pedro’s Mexican Restaurant from Kenosha is new to the fair, as is Wan’s, an eatery known for its pad thai cuisine.
For snack lovers, Pop’s Kettle Corn and It’s Just Nuts have set up shop, as has the saloon-themed Wild West Soda, which is offering up a variety of different sudsy beverages, including root beer, sarsaparilla and cream soda.
Also in the mix is Mount Pleasant-based Family Fruit ‘n Cream and the rustic-appearing Happy Camper coffee shop.
While many of the food vendors are locally based, others are coming to the Kenosha County Fair from afar. Case in point: Wild West Soda is making stops at fairs throughout the country.
Cori Herreid, who also helps oversee operations as an office assistant on the fairgrounds, said she and Blair plot out their food options in advance of the fair.
“We make a food plan,” Herreid said. “It’s something we look forward to every year.”
On day one, the staffers tried Wan’s, and Herreid said, “We were very impressed.”
When it comes to food options, Herreid said the goal is to offer something that appeals to all pallets.
“We really try to diversify it as much as possible,” she said.