Landon Lord, 1, left, and his sister Alia Lord, 3, take a bite from their corn on the cob fed by mother Stacy Lord and grandmother Kathy Greenstein while attending the 58th annual Gwinnett County Fair at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville on Thursday.
IF YOU GO
• What: Gwinnett County Fair
• When: 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday
• Where: Gwinnett County Fairgrounds, 2405 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville
• Cost: $2 to $5 for admission, rides are an additional cost
• For more information: Visit www.gwinnettcountyfair.com
LAWRENCEVILLE -- Snickers funnel cake? Fried pickles on a stick? Fresh squeezed lemonade?
Jack Smith of Buford isn't interested in any of those treats. He comes to the Gwinnett County Fair specifically for the roasted corn.
"I've got grandkids and they're riding the kiddie rides, so I started hunting for the corn," he said with an ear in his hand on a recent night at the fair.
Smith orders his freshly grilled corn with just a little bit of butter. Fair Manager Dale Thurman, on the other hand, likes his corn spicy.
"The fair is not complete without the roasted corn," he said. "I put cayenne pepper on mine for an extra kick."
Catherine Moon and her husband Charles of Conyers don't look for the roasted corn, but have been attending the Gwinnett County Fair longer than they can remember.
"Oh geez wiz, I'm 91 and he's 94. We've been coming for years," she said. "(Charles) loves to sit here and watch the people go by."
And when the Moons make it to the fairgrounds, they always makes sure to get something fried to eat while people watching.
"I love the fair food because it's something different ... I wanted one of those (blooming) onions," Catherine Moon said while nibbling fried petals from the plate.
To many people, the smell of fried funnel cake and chicken on a stick bring them back to happy memories from their childhood.
"It's nostalgic to eat these things," Kim Hold of Marietta said. "I grew up in the North, where every little small town has a fair. It brings back a lot of good memories."
Different snacks are scattered throughout the fair. Vendors offer a variety of finger foods and sugar-laced drinks, including frozen root beer, snow cones in an array of flavors and hand-dipped corn dogs.
"You can't have enough variety. You want to have as much as possible," Thurman said. "We can fill this place up 10 times over with people selling different versions of a hot dog, but you don't want that. You want something that nobody else has got."
For that reason, the fair serves everything from a build your own yogurt stand to deep fried Oreos to full meals with sides. One of the newest vendors this year is Dre's Place, a North Carolina style barbecue pit, near the Sugarloaf Parkway parking lot.
"He has a beautiful trailer to work out of," Thurman said. "His food isn't like going through a drive-thru and you get something quick. He does special touches with the orders, so it's worth the wait."
Although there are many food vendors located through the fairgrounds, each one needs to be clean, sanitary and up to date with the current health codes.
"The health department inspects everything on a regular basis and they don't care if you're a civic group or whatever, they want healthy and that's what we want," Thurman said. "Those vendors who can't keep up with sanitation won't be invited back next year."