Summertime means street fairs, and street fairs mean one thing: good eats. And by “good,” I’m not talking about the gourmet fare that you’ll find in a five-star restaurant, but rather the terribly tasty foods that are greasy, salty, sugary, crispy, cleverly portable and almost certainly bad for you.
We all know and love the usual suspects: funnel cake, corn dogs, cotton candy, kettle corn, french fries, smoothies, etc. But I’ve noticed that many vendors are now raising the bar when it comes to street food.
How about the enormous éclairs and gourmet cupcakes that I saw at ArtsFest? My only reluctance to buying a cupcake was the absurd price of $9. Yikes!
Or what about the pumpkin funnel cakes that I recently saw at Jubilee Day? We’re talkin’ pumpkin-flavored batter, here! I also spotted Thai/curry-glazed chicken on a skewer, which one-ups the standard poultry on a stick, and tropical drinks served in actual coconut shells.
But for me, the pièce de résistance was a teeny-tiny stand, near the Walnut Street end of the fair, serving homemade cupcakes that rivaled some of the best varieties I’ve had from the Harrisburg Cupcake Cup. Its sign simply said “cupcakes” and had no business name. Flavors were along the lines of salted caramel pretzel, chocolate chip cookie dough and chocolate peanut butter cup, all of which had filled centers. They were moist, gooey and delicious, for sure.
Have I gotten you in the mood for some wannabe-gourmet street fair food? Here’s a list of upcoming fairs, festivals and events that should include plenty of street eats. Mark your calendars!
July 4-5 — 4th of July Celebration, Riverfront Park, Harrisburg
July 13 — The Gettysburg Cook-Off, Gateway Gettysburg Complex, Gettysburg
July 20 — Brew Fest, Fort Hunter Mansion & Park, Harrisburg
July 20 — Christmas in July, Willow Street Fire Company, Willow Street
July 20 — BBQ & Bluegrass Festival, Willow Mill Park, Mechanicsburg
July 20 — Blues and Brews, Mount Hope Estate & Winery, Manheim
July 27 — Hanover Dutch Festival, Hanover
July 27 — Pride Festival of Central PA, Riverfront Park, Harrisburg
July 27-Aug. 3 — Lebanon Area Fair, Lebanon Area Fair Grounds, Lebanon
Aug. 3-Oct. 27 — Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, Manheim
Aug. 15-18 — Gettysburg Fall Bluegrass Festival, Granite Hill Camping Resort, Gettysburg
Aug. 17-18 — Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show, Mount Gretna
Aug. 23-25 — Yorkfest Fine Arts Festival, York
Aug. 19-24 — Elizabethtown Fair, Elizabethtown Fair Grounds, Elizabethtown
Aug. 24 — Summer Brews & Tunes Festival, The Vineyard at Hershey, Middletown
Aug. 30-Sept. 1 — Long's Park Art & Craft Festival, Lancaster
Aug. 31-Sept. 1 — Heart of Lancaster Arts & Craft Show, Roots Country Market, Manheim
Aug. 31-Sept. 2 — Kipona Festival, Riverfront Park, Harrisburg
Sept. 6-15 — York Fair
Sept. 7 — Whoopie Pie Festival, Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn, Strasburg
Sept. 7-8 — Gettysburg Wine & Music Festival, Gettysburg
Sept. 7-8 — Dauphin County Jazz and Wine Fest, Fort Hunter Mansion & Park, Harrisburg
Sept. 14 — Hummelstown Arts Festival, Main Street on the Square, Hummelstown
Sept. 15 — Fort Hunter Day, Fort Hunter Mansion & Park, Harrisburg
Sept. 24-28 — The Ephrata Fair, Ephrata
Sept. 29 — Woofstock, Riverfront Park, Harrisburg
What’s your favorite festival food?