This is definitely a backlogged post and I did have a debate with myself on whether it was worth posting. However, this is one venue where I can share events that occurred in Red Deer so I decided to go ahead.
I grew up going to the fair ground annually when I was little. Because it came once a year, it was always a special occasion – just like Christmas. I was allowed to eat greasy deep fried food that I normally would never see in a restaurant. Curly fries, hot dogs, elephants ears, buttered popcorn. Those were my happy memories.
As I grew older, I appreciated the rides, especially the old wooden roller coaster in my hometown. I also discovered that the rides went faster at night for the teenagers that still lingered around. Many of my friends worked for the fair, but I never had the opportunity and now wonder whether I missed out.
This was my first visit to the Westerner Days Fair and Exposition. It usually comes around the end of July and lasts approximately 4 days (Thursday to Sunday). I went on the last day of the fair, Sunday. It was a really nice evening.
I no longer go on any rides, but I do like walking around the fair ground.
I knew I had to have a hot dog. I always had one when I attended a fair. However, there were so many around. Which one to choose?
I picked the European Sausage and Deli booth as I knew that they have a store in town. Furthermore, I later learned that they were regulars at the Red Deer Farmer’s Market.
They called it a Sausage on a Bun, but it is a hot dog as you can see. For $5, you had your choice of meat: Grandfather, Garlic Ham, Polish, Ukrainian, Farmer, Spanish, and Bratwurst. I grew up on Ukrainian sausage so that is always my go-to choice. I said yes to cooked onions when prompted.
I watched them take the sausage out of a steaming tub and place it on a bun. I wished the sausage was grilled it a little so that it would have the added charred flavor. When they handed the hot dog to me, I added a good amount of ketchup and mustard.
It was a decent sausage and I expected nothing less from a deli that has “sausage” in its name. I definitely missed the charred flavor that comes from grilling the sausage. Steamed was not the same. The onions were cooked sweet, but sadly, my generous amount of condiments drowned out anything the onions could have offered.
I proceeded to the Westerner Park exhibition center to see the variety of items sold. One booth caught my eye. It was the Deli Manjoo which advertised Freshly Baked Cakes with a Vanilla Cream Filling.
It was fun to watch batches been made and they were made to order. By the time a batch was done, I knew that I was hooked. I ordered 3 for $1.50.
The process of making them was more spectacular than the actual cakes themselves. They tasted like a typical sponge cake with a cream filling. However, the fact that they were made fresh gave it a wonderful warm center and that was good.
I did a loop around the food stall area to see what else was edible.
I walked around some more before deciding to finish my visit at the fair with some french fries. Again, there were many booths selling french fries. I decided to have a dish that I never had before at a fair: Chili Cheese Fries. It caught my eye when I was passing by one of the fair-owned booths with the colorful exterior and flapping flags.
I watched the staff member scoop some fries into a paper basket and proceed to add a pump of chili followed by a pump of nacho cheese over top.
The fries were fresh cut as advertised which limited the potential crispiness that only twice-fried french fries can offer. The combination of chili and cheese was delicious, but it made the whole dish feel heavy and greasy. Greasy, the word I associate with with fairs. I appreciated the nostalgic effect, but I never did finish the entire basket of fries.
I am glad that I decided to visit the Westerner Days Fair and Exposition that year. It was a nice way of getting to know Red Deer.