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Corn dogs, curly fries and cotton candy: Bellies filled at the fair

March 06, 2001|By ANTHONY LONGORIA, Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — Thousands of stomachs are undoubtedly satiated around this time of year as they get their fill of food from the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta.

The rides, games, and exhibits all leave indelible memories of the fair, but our bellies would give the thumbs up to the fair's more edible pursuits.

French bread pizza, curly fries, Thai food, teriyaki, cotton candy, candy apples, pecan rolls, peanut bars, funnel cake, cinnamon buns; everyone has a favorite item from the offerings of the dozens of food stands.

Arguably the most popular culinary contestant is the corn dog.

This little corn meal-enveloped hot dog on a stick seemed ubiquitous among food vendors and hungry patrons alike.

Christina Figueroa, 19, of El Centro, said her favorite fair food is the corn dog, saying its greasiness and unhealthiness add to its appeal.


"It's what makes it taste good," said Figueroa.

Brooke Haley, 18, of El Centro, who accompanied Figueroa on their dining break, said she also enjoyed the staple of corn dogs and even lived off them last year when she had an animal at the fair.

Corn dog enthusiasts remarked that the experience of the corn dog has to be just right.

"You've got to get it at that special booth," said Holly Smart of Brawley.

Smart suggested that to get the best-tasting corn dog, one should find a vendor that sells them fresh, avoiding the corn dogs that have been "sitting out."

"Everybody has their favorite (stand)," Smart said.

According to those interviewed, the stands near the animal barns and near the front entrance seem to be the best places to get corn dogs.

Smart didn't get to enjoy a corn dog this year as she is on a low-carbohydrate diet, but she said it is easy to find somewhat healthy alternatives such as the fajita or teriyaki stands.

"There's enough variety," Smart said. "You just have to be creative."

For the sweet-toothed fair-goer, options were readily available as confections overwhelmed many a food booth and tempted many diets crossing its path.

Sky Garcia, 18, of Fresno stood before trays of candy apples (her best-selling product) in various states of caramel and candy coatings at one of several stands offering the confection.

Behind her, a giant-sized mixer stirred wisps of stringy confection. Garcia said the cotton candy she makes usually sells most as people are leaving.

Confections topped Figueroa's favorites list as well. She said she loves the caramel apples and kettle corn and also enjoys the cinnamon buns, patiently holding onto one as she spoke to a reporter.

Taking a bite out of her sweet treat, she commented on the tradition of eating at the fair.

"When you come to the fair, you can't eat a little," said Figueroa. "You have to eat big! It's a tradition."

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