Small vendors get creative to maintain business
COVID-19 has not only hurt the community’s access to food sources but, most notably, access to the fried deliciousness of State Fair food. With the cancellation of the State Fair of Texas and dozens of others like it, comes the cancellation of many small food stands that rely on fried food sales to make a living. The yearly display of food, from fried Oreos, to fried ice cream, to giant turkey legs, has been a part of fair culture for years, and it is a good opportunity for local chefs to gain publicity and make money off of their specialty dishes.
Luckily, some industrious vendors have created new ways to share their creations and recipes with the world despite the global pandemic and social distancing guidelines. Virtual festivities like cake decorating, creating butter sculpture and mask decorating have popped up alongside the slew of online State Fair food options. Felicia Turrentine-Daniel, the vendor and chef of Chef’s D’Lites food stand, has started selling her creations and recipes online and over her Facebook page. She, like many others in the State Fair food game, has started sharing recipes and hand delivering goodies like fried mac and cheese and cuban rolls. Also, Josh Zamansky has started a nationwide delivery service for state fair meal kit boxes. Based out of Minnesota, Zamanskys company, StateFairToGo, delivers a box to your doorstep containing 1 pound of funnel cake mix, a 2-pound turkey leg, 18 fried Oreos, 1 pound of fried okra and cream gravy, 1.5 pounds of seasoned curly fries and 5 corn dogs. His company partners with local vendors to support the businesses that the cancellations of fairs have affected.
As a community, we need to help in supporting these small businesses and preserving the culture of State Fair food. Without supporting local businesses and ordering the familiar treats we have come to love, those that work to create the Fair festivities will go out of business, and the culture of state fairs could be compromised. However, it is not only our State Fair vendors whose businesses are compromised due to the pandemic. Now, more than ever, we must think of others in these trying times and support our local businesses through COVID-19 that we have learned to love. Without our support and care, our community will suffer, and the culture of our cities are diminished.