Taste of the Fair attracts food fans

An estimated 9,000 people visited the Taste of the Fair event over the weekend of Sept. 18-20, 2020, at RM Auction Park near of Auburn.

AUBURN — A Taste of the Fair will return for a second year May 14-16 at RM Auction Park, 5536 C.R. 11-A.

Taste of the Fair will feature a walk-through fair food alley of more than 25 food vendors. Face masks and social distancing guidelines will be followed.

The event is hosted by the DeKalb County Fair Association and RM Auctions. Hours will be 3-7 p.m. on May 14, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 15 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 16.

The event debuted last year after the DeKalb County Fair Association made a difficult decision to cancel the DeKalb County Free Fall Fair due to COVID-19. Organizers came up with the idea to allow fair fans and supporters to get a flavor of the event at A Taste of the Fair.

“Last year it was in lieu of the fair. It went very well,” said Auburn Mayor Mike Ley, a fair board member and one of the event’s organizers.

It was such a success, both for vendors and guests, that organizers decided to bring it back for a second year. They hope A Taste of the Fair will become an annual event, Ley said.

Fair board President Eric Rowe said hosting the event in May will serve as a kick-off to the season before vendors begin traveling the fair circuit.

Vendors attending Taste of the Fair will come from across the country. Some local vendors also will participate, Rowe said.

There will be no gate fee and parking is free.

Rowe estimated that as many as 9,000 people attended last year’s event.

“Vendors reported they were very pleased with what they did in sales,” Ley added.

Rowe and Ley said RM Auctions has been welcoming and willing to host the event at the auction park south of Auburn and has been a great partner.

“They work really well with us,” Rowe said.

This year, organizers hope to offer limited outdoor seating at the auction park.

A wide variety of food choices will available including ice cream, steak tips, barbecue, walleye fish sandwiches, doughnuts and fried fruit pies. The DeKalb County 4-H Council also will attend, offering its popular pork burgers, Rowe said.

After enjoying a sample of fair food, fair fans will be able to return for second helpings when participating vendors bring their food stands to the DeKalb Free Fall Fair in September, organizers said.

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