The Great Frederick Fair exists to promote agriculture and the education of our youth about the industry. But for many, a day at the Fair isn’t complete without a visit to certain food stands that have been a part of the fair for decades.
While Katie Stevens, the Frederick County Office of Economic Development (OED)’s Agriculture Business Development Specialist is busy planning fair events all week long related to agriculture, the rest of the staff at OED is thinking about what foods they will consume. Like many Frederick County residents, several staff members have been coming to the Fair for as long as they can remember and visiting certain food stands have become an annual tradition.
OED’s Picks for Top Fair Food Traditions:
Helen – The Farm Bureau Ice Cream Stand
Helen helps out with scooping ice cream every year under the grandstand. “It’s a great way to stay connected with members of the agricultural community,” she said, “and the ice cream is always good!”
Heather – Hemp’s
This meat butcher in Jefferson has been in Frederick County since 1849 and at the fair since 1986. Always a popular destination for many, Heather doesn’t mind standing in the lines for some of the best pit beef around. “A day at the fair without Hemp’s just wouldn’t make any sense,” said Heather.
Jodie – J.B. Seafood
You might find Jodie with a crab cake in her hand while her kids are showing animals at the Fair, and afterwards, she makes her way down to Valley Concessions for an apple dumpling. “Was I just supposed to pick one favorite food place? Well that’s impossible,” said Jodie.
Sherman – J.B. Seafood
Sherman is a big aficionado of seafood and the crabcake sandwich or fried shrimp is a must-have for Sherman. “Is it even possible to live in Maryland and not like seafood?” he says.
Katie – Dougherty’s Country Kitchen
When your day begins and ends at the Fair like it does for Katie, a home-cooked country breakfast is essential and Doughtery’s has mastered that for fair-goers for the last 49 years. “A Dougherty’s breakfast at the Fair is a part of many farm families’ annual traditions.”
Sandy – PA Dutch Foods Stand
This long-time favorite has been at the Fair for 60 years. The ham and swiss sandwiches and whoopie pies from the Amish have been important to Sandy’s fair experience for as long as she can remember. “What exactly do they put in those sandwiches anyway?” said Sandy.
Matt – The Root Beer Truck
“The Root Beer Float Guy has been a part of my life since I was 5,” said Matt. “I can always count on him for the best root beer float.”
Luis – New Market Grange
A part of the Fair for 89 years, the Grange stand has something for everyone and Luis hasn’t ever met a dessert that he didn’t like. The Grange says their most popular for their soups, burgers and fries. “Come hungry, leave full,” said Luis.
Britt – Valley Concessions
The apple dumplings at Valley have been a big hit for 17 years but for Britt, they are a critical part of her Fair experience. “What’s going to the Fair and not having an apple dumpling like? It sounds so sad,” said Britt.
Heidi – Demetris Greek Food Stand
The Greek stand reminds Heidi of her recent trip to Greece. “I like to walk to the Fair during my lunch break,” said Heidi. “It helps me feel better about the calories I eat while there,” said Heidi.
The Great Frederick Fair has a wonderful and rich history in Frederick County, celebrating its 156th fair this year. Whether its agriculture, food or family fun, the fair doesn’t disappoint. The Great Frederick Fair runs through September 22nd.