County Fair Craves

I Ate Every Food I Saw at County Fair


For the past 13 years, every year it was held, I have gone to County Fair. As a lower schooler, I saw this schoolwide tradition as one of the best days of the year. Now, as an upperclassman, I see it as a day with no classes and a few underwhelming activities. 

I think it’s a wonderful concept that every single person at the school has a role in County Fair, whether that’s singing, cooking, or face painting. As I get older, however, I find this annual event becoming less and less engaging. I’m not sure if it’s just less appealing to an older age group or if the actual aspects of County Fair are getting worse. Either way, this year I participated almost solely in the stands that captivate me most: the food stands. 

There was pretty much food everywhere I turned my head at County Fair. Candy on the field, the junior tea room in the cafeteria, and sophomores and third graders in every crevice with some type of food in the Sheridan Cafe.

Naturally, I knew I had to take this critiquing job extra seriously. I made it my goal to try as many different foods inside the walls of Parker as possible. This challenge wasn’t without obstacles — the lines were off the charts. I think there were more people in line for cotton candy than the number of seniors who actually showed up at County Fair.

I peeked into the Small Cafe an hour into County Fair and was surprised to see that the line had disappeared. I obviously jumped at the opportunity to try the cotton candy with no wait, but once I came up to get it, a sophomore squashed my excitement with the information that they ran out of cotton candy. What cotton candy stand runs out of cotton candy? 

Because I associate cotton candy with County Fair so much, it would be wrong of me not to include a review in this article. I have brought in reinforcements who were lucky enough to try the confection before they disappointingly ran out. “The cotton candy was very fluffy and flavorful,” sophomore Quinn Kass said. “I feel like you can’t mess cotton candy up though because it’s such a classic.” I am skeptical of Quinn’s ability to be unbiased, however, as she was one of the people making the cotton candy and running the booth. It’s too bad they ran out, leaving me few sources to question about it. 

I also tried the snow cones from the sophomores, and I don’t have any interesting comments about them. It was the average snow cone. Ice, sugary syrup, melts before I finish it. No complaints, but also no oozing compliments.

Moving on to a more positive review, I want to talk about the walking tacos. These were being served in the courtyard by Parker’s Quest cafeteria staff. While it’s quite the sight to see after so many years of Seniors Wieners (rest in peace) dominating the courtyard, I was pleasantly surprised. This might’ve been the highlight out of everything I ate. While I’m slightly upset I can’t report back that my favorite was something made by my classmates, Quest is never here to disappoint. The line was short, possibly due to the time being a ripe 10:32 AM, but I was thankful for the brief waiting time regardless.

The walking tacos started with a choice of regular Tostitos chips or Doritos. I went with Tostitos, which I honestly ended up regretting a tad, but I wanted to keep my base simple. As for the rest of the assembly line, I went with pork, nacho cheese (obviously), cilantro, onion, pico de gallo, and corn. It was all delicious and went together so well, but my one complaint was the measly amount of nacho cheese. That’s supposed to be the star component, and I was struggling to find any in my walking taco! Still, it was delicious, and I hope that the cafeteria will one day serve that for lunch. Something about a walking taco comes across differently than when they brand the nachos as “nachos.” Maybe it’s just the excitement I find from eating them out of a chip bag. 

My next stop was the popcorn, which was unfortunately underwhelming. I got excited for the nostalgia that I usually feel eating buttery, salty popcorn out of a brown bag, but I did not have that feeling this year. Although I felt the popcorn could have had more of the classic buttery flavor, I loved  the note that they handed me along with my bag. It read, “Q: What kind of jokes would cheddar popcorn make? A: Cheesy and corny jokes :).” Cute and personal, but I wish this popcorn had some cheddar. 

Brown bag in hand, I went to try the paletas. I was disappointed when I heard that the eighth graders would no longer be serving root beer floats. I have never been one to crave root beer floats, but not once did I resist one from County Fair. I tried to give the paletas a chance, but my paleta did not meet the standards I had for the eighth grade root beer float booth. I chose the bubble gum because the flavor stood out to me, but after the first lick, which was good, the flavor was too strong for me (but that’s on me, not the eighth graders).

After the blueness of my tongue faded (thanks to the bubblegum popsicle), I was finally ready to return to the cafeteria to face my fellow juniors. At the junior tea room, there were a lot of selections including bagels, donuts, coffee, juice, and more. For the first time, the tea room offered freshly cooked pancakes which turned out to be a big hit. Pretty much everything was store bought, so there isn’t much to criticize here. It’s all of the usual suspects. Starbucks coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts, etc. However, the one thing I did notice was the interesting price points. There were mini brownie bites which came in a tub, and one brownie bite was three tickets. Next to that, Insomnia Cookies were sitting at three tickets per cookie. Considering that an insomnia cookie probably costs around half as much as the entire tub of brownie bites, this was an interesting choice. But hey, I’m not complaining. I got a gluten-free and vegan insomnia cookie with three tickets I took from my friend’s little brother. What a deal. 

I hope that for my senior year, I can once again feel the magic that my younger self once felt once every year on this day. That could mean bringing the root beer floats back, but it could also maybe mean forming new traditions. Maybe one day the current lower schoolers will look back and feel an attachment to the paletas they used to get every year at County Fair. I hope to return to County Fair next year for one last time and look at it through a different lense that allows me to welcome the changes being made. And Chef Zac, if you’re reading this, it definitely wouldn’t hurt to ensure the return of the walking tacos.