The Fourth of July weekend is kind of a big deal in my town because it’s when the Granville Street Fair occurs. For anyone who doesn’t know, “street fairs” and various other types of small summer festivals are common in the many tiny towns that make up Licking County and other similarly podunk counties in central Ohio. I don’t know if this is a common phenomenon in other parts of Ohio, or in any other states, but the street fair was always a highlight of my summer when I was growing up.
For three or four days over the Fourth of July holiday, Granville shuts down the main drag of the very small town proper and hosts a mini carnival in the street. There are rides and games and food vendors and a stage for live music. If you’re in middle school, the street fair is THE social event of the summer. If you’re not in middle school, it’s decidedly lame and boring, but it’s tradition to make at least one begrudging lap to survey the attractions, hoping that you don’t run into any awkward former acquaintances, and snag some obligatory fair food before you’re on your merry way.
I like the street fair for the unmatched element of nostalgia that it holds for the days I used to eagerly anticipate being dropped off uptown by my parents: loading up on corn dogs, lemon shake-ups, and chocolate covered cheesecake, buying tickets to ride the only two rides that were actually fun- the roundup and the boat, the former of which has been discontinued I think due to safety issues- and playing overpriced carnival games to win cheap prizes. The year I went into fourth grade I won a Titanic poster by throwing two darts at a wall of balloons (I still have the poster) and the summer after seventh grade a teenage carnie with blue hair gave me a free teddy bear because he thought I was cute (it must have been my striped knee socks).
Needless to say, the appeal of the street fair waned over the years, and now my obligatory appearance has nothing to do with the social aspect, and everything to do with the food. I’m a huge sucker for greasy fried food, and this year I experienced a new and absurdly gluttonous culinary creation that you seriously HAVE to try if you ever get the chance.
Three words: Deep fried Oreos.
Also on the menu at this particular food stand: fried Twinkie, fried cookie dough, fried Snickers bar, fried Reese’s, fried Three Musketeers, and fried rice krispy treat.
Oh, and as if a motherfucking BREADED and DEEP FRIED candy bar isn’t enough, they then have a table behind the booth that is loaded with a gigantic shaker jar of powdered sugar, as well as jars of chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, and white icing. YES PLEASE.
If the Granville Street Fair doesn’t seem podunk enough, then be sure to head on over to Millersport, where the Sweet Corn Festival takes place in August in the middle of a gigantic fucking field. I went last summer with my mom and her boyfriend, and while I did enjoy it- especially the part where Greg made my mom and me ride a carnival ride that I think is called the “scrambler,” and my mom almost peed her pants- it was just so hilariously redneck-y that I couldn’t help but laugh at the whole spectacle.
Obviously the main attraction, food-wise anyway, is the sweet corn that is perfectly ripe and recently harvested from local fields. So we stood in a long but surprisingly fast-moving line where an old man yelled out prices and order sizes (ONE EAR, TWO EAR, FOUR EAR) to us as quickly as an auctioneer, and were served gigantic ears of corn dripping with melted butter that we proceeded to eat on the makeshift tables made of pieces of wood propped on top of metal barrels. People huddle around the tables and fight for the metal salt shakers filled with rice to keep the salt from getting sticky in the humid heat. It literally looks like people feeding at a human-sized trough, and add in a couple of child-mullets and Ohio State jerseys and the picture is complete.
Let me just say though, that this shit is delicious. I have never had better tasting corn on the cob in my entire life. Not to mention the chocolate covered bacon and barbecue pulled pork that I also sampled last year. Gluttony has always been one of my strong suits.