The row of food vendors at the 110th Malheur County Fair. (The Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)
ONTARIO — The Malheur County Fair delivers rodeo events, dance groups, animal auctions and food — lots and lots of food. Strategically placed to the inside right of the main gate, fairgoers can’t miss the smells of fried batter, browned meat and gooey cheese as they walk toward the main arena. Whether customers are looking for a cold drink to beat the heat this week or trying to get the most bang for their buck, there are plenty of options from the 10-plus trucks and stands in the main walkway.
Vendors will be serving flavorful creations all week during public hours. The fairgrounds open to the public at 10 a.m. every day. Keep an eye on the Enterprise website for daily fair entertainment schedules. For those looking to score some great grub, here is your guide to all things food at the fair.
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A young fairgoer preps a cup of ketchup and mustard for her mound of curly fries from Brown’s Buffalo Ranch. (The Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)
Fairs are synonymous with fried foods galore — here is where you can get the traditional goods:
Brown’s Buffalo Ranch is serving up mounds of curly fries for $5. The stack of crispy potatoes are clearly the truck’s most popular item — it’s hard to walk two feet without spotting those greasy ringlets sitting in the center of a table or traveling towards someone’s mouth. The truck also boasts hamburgers and cheeseburgers with options for double patties and cheese ranging from $8 to $11.
The fair food stand itself — the first vendor in the red food stands — is frying up colossal onions, their most popular fare, for $8. In addition to the bloomin’ onion-like treat, the stand offers $5 hamburgers and footlong corndogs for $6.
While there are a couple corndog options, The Rusty Corndog has the market cornered on variety. The truck’s owner, Rob Griner, says that the Rusty Dog, the footlong corndog for $6, is his most popular order with the Shish-ka-dog — a footlong corndog with Colby Jack cheese squares layered with hotdog for $7 — coming in hot at second place. Rob also offers the Co-Jack, a stick of Colby Jack cheese dipped in corndog batter for $4, which he says is like a grilled cheese sandwich in corndog form.
The heat drives fair attendees towards the fresh squeezed lemonade stand. (The Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)
Fair attendees can also find fresh squeezed lemonade, cotton candy and shaved ice offered throughout the booths.
The Taste Breakers
If corndogs aren’t your style or you already had hamburgers and fries for your past five meals, here are some options to shake up your palette:
Bunk Haus owner Dick Bunker chats with a customer looking for a cold drink. (The Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)
Bunk Haus, a po’boys and peppersteaks eatery from Parma, offers some east coast and New Orleans inspired flavors at the fair. Dick Bunker, the owner, recommends their signature peppersteak sandwich for $8. The shrimp po’boy ($8) is his wife’s favorite and while Dick makes all his own remoulade sauce in house, the restaurant buys the dry batter for the shrimp from Baton Rouge. For those looking for a twist on a classic, Bunk Haus serves up a grilled mac & cheese sandwich for $5.
Modesto and Charity Vega pose for a photo inside the Fiesta Guadalajara stand. (The Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)
Fiesta Guadalajara is offering Mexican fare to county fair attendees. Modesto Vega is running the stand just inside the main gate along with his daughter Charity. Vega says that the asade quesadilla ($9.75) and asade burrito ($10.25) are the most popular orders, but he also encourages customers to try the tacos al pastor, street tacos, for $2.
5 Kids & a Truck is also providing Mexican options. Without a doubt, their most popular order are the Walking Tacos, tacos topped with meat, beans and all the fixings for $5.
The St. Paul Lutheran Church corners the market on the scones at the fair. (the Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)
The St. Paul Lutheran Church is serving up “Heaven Scones” for $3 if fairgoers are looking for a sweet treat.
Matsy’s is bringing rice and noodle bowls to the fair. The restaurant’s most popular fair order is the Mafa Chicken Bowl for $7 — it’s also an employee favorite.
Have a news tip? Reporter Isabella Garcia: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.
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