There’s so much food to eat the Gwinnett County Fair and so little time — and room in the stomach — to eat it all.
Lawrenceville newlyweds Alex and April Sinnette hit up Timmons Concessions’ Philly Cheese Steak stand first after they arrived at the Gwinnett County Fair on Wednesday night, but it was far from the only food stop they planned to make before the night was over.
They started with the Philly Cheese Steak because the line at a nearby barbecue booth was long, but the night was young.
“I wouldn’t mark (barbecue) off the list yet,” Alex Sinnette said as he munched on his cheese steak.
The fair, which runs through Sunday at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville, offers a smorgasbord of different foods for attendees to try.
Besides Philly cheese steaks, there’s: jumbo corndogs; corn on the cob; turkey legs; barbecue; chicken gyros; Italian and Polish sausages; kabobs; pizza; chicken tenders; funnel cakes; burgers; hot dogs; ice cream; fried onions; deep-fried vegetables; candy apples; and cotton candy among other delicacies.
For many people attending the fair, there were some nontraditional foods begging to be tried, such as ribbon fries or fried Oreos.
And yes, if you have not been to the fair before, fried Oreos really are a thing.
For others, however, the fair classics are tops on the list.
“You can’t leave the fair without eating a funnel cake,” Dacula resident Pat Tanner said.
For fair food connoisseurs such as the Sinnettes, however, the must-have list is a mix of the true classics and the less traditional items. They said good fair food has to evoke nostalgia for good times and be comforting at the same time.
But there are some foods that the couple won’t go for at the fair.
“In my opinion, you can’t do something like pizza,” Alex Sinnette said. “It’s got to be something easy and American. I think that is a ‘Fair Food’: a corndog, burger (and) Philly cheese apparently.”
Timmons Concessions owner Gene Timmons said the Philly Cheese Steaks have been growing in popularity in the south. His South Carolina-based company works eight fairs up and down the east coast and this is its 12th year at the Gwinnett County Fair.
“Up north, it’s a big thing, but we brought it to the south and it’s caught on,” he said.
He sells a variety of items at the fair, including Italian and Polish sausages, bacon ranch fries, Philly cheese fries, chicken baskets and occasionally a limited amount of homemade banana pudding and peach cobbler.
The Philly cheese steak is one of his big sellers though. Using the right kind of meat, he said, is what makes it so popular.
“It’s a ribeye steak, like up in Philly,” Timmons said.
But, as for what makes good fair food in general, the Sinnettes said it boils down, quite simply, to one thing.
“It’s got to be savory,” April Sinnette said.
Her husband added, “The flavor kind of sits with you while you enjoy the sights and the rides, so it’s almost like even after you’re done eating, you’re still eating.”