The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 23, 2013

Fair-goers try fairly odd foods

Vendors fry cookies, ice cream, Pop-Tarts

By Robert Stoneback
The Daily Item

BLOOMSBURG —  Sweet, coated in batter and fried golden brown.

That describes a lot of the popular snacks sold at the Bloomsburg Fair, and that’s no surprise to Mike Jagodzinski, who has been running a stand at the fair for the past 15 years. “People come to the fair to eat fried food,” he said. “They don’t come to eat healthy.”

This year, deep-fried Pop-Tarts are among the most popular items at Jagodzinski’s stand, Yogi’s Ethnic Food, in fair section B-4. Customers can pick their favorite flavor of the toaster treats, including s’mores, peanut butter and pumpkin pie, and for $3 can get the Pop Tarts covered in a hot, crispy breading.

“They’re the big seller,” said Carla Jagodzinski, Mike’s wife.

The taste is like a warm, gooey Pop-Tart, with the entire toaster pastry, partially melted from the heat of the fryer, used as filling.

It met with approval from Tyler Brosious, 11, of Sunbury.

“It’s really good,” Tyler said, digging into the powdered sugar and fried dough surrounding a s’mores-flavored Pop-Tart.

There is an art to frying, Eric Madonna and Matt Snyder, of the 6th Street Meltdown Gourmet stand, have learned.

They started Meltdown Gourmet earlier this year, and have traveled to various events serving deep-fried goodies, everything from candy bars, to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to Oreo cookies, which are a big seller. They have served the Oreos at music festivals this year and were making them nonstop at those events. The cost is $5 for five Oreos.

One snack they have not been able to perfect is a deep-fried Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

“It pretty much turns to goop” when put in a fryer,” Snyder said.

The deep-fried ice cream sandwich might have met with a similar fate, but Gage’s Concession, at the intersection of E and Seventh, found a way to cook the hot, golden dough without turning the ice cream to soup. The sandwich starts off nearly frozen and is quickly fried, according to stand worker Rose Stewart.

The $3 fried sandwich is served on a wooden stick, and when bitten into, the ice cream is just starting to melt.

“It’s warm on the outside and cool on the inside,” Stewart said.

The stand is owned by Rose’s brother, Terry Stewart, with numerous other Stewart family members pitching in throughout the week. Gage’s most popular item changes, depending on the day. Sometimes it’s the ice cream sandwich, other times it’s another item, such as fried pickles.

And for those who want something with a bit less dough, there’s always bacon.

Horr’s Hot Dogs, on D and Eighth Avenue, sells strips of bacon covered in chocolate and salt for $3. While the Horr’s specialty is hot dogs of various shapes and sizes, the bacon is easily the most popular item, said stand operator Buddy Prusinski.

Bonnie Crays, of Montoursville, tried the snack for the first time that day.

“It’s pretty good,” she said. “The chocolate melts right away, but then you have the bacon. And the bacon is very good.”

The 158th Bloomsburg Fair runs through Saturday.