When the carnival comes to town, people kiss their fat and sugar fears goodbye.
Foot-long corn dogs, caramel apples and deep-fried mushrooms — these are on the menu during Westerner Days now running until Sunday at Red Deer’s Westerner Park.
Midway vendors tempt passersby with a vast array of ethnic delicacies, novelty snacks and tantalizing smells.
Six perogies for $7; barbecue sate pork for $2.50; ice cream dipped in chocolate rolled in nuts for $3.50. And for those who want hot chocolate, $3.
Inside a jam-packed concession tent on Thursday, Nicole Weidman sat with a plate full of two funnel cakes and a few spoonfuls of icing sugar on top.
“They drop batter into a deep fryer and drizzle it in there until it makes a whole big plate,” said Weidman, 22, of Red Deer. “It actually tastes pretty good. . .you just rip a piece off.”
She spent $10 on the two cakes, plus a Hawaiian shaved ice drink for $6, extra flavouring included.
Her friend’s daughter, Kasadee York, 11, of Abbotsford, B.C. said she might try the wiggle chips — a new dish to Westerner Days.
A machine churns out the potatoes into wiry strips, which are then put in a deep fryer. For $5, buyers receive a mound of potato chips to which they can add ketchup or seasonings.
Deep fry fare ran the gamut — from pickles to pineapple and Snickers bars.
Drew Peterson, 18, of Red Deer, ordered deep-fried Oreos last year and liked them. He forked over $5 for a dish of them.
“They’re like an Oreo but really hot,” said Peterson, chuckling.
“They’re warm and sweet and gooey,” added Conner Swain, 19, of Sylvan Lake.
This sweet tooth also enjoys the mini donuts, plus the whole ambience of the fair.
“All the different smells — it’s good.”
Urbain Zak of Red Deer stuck with the usual, a hamburger and fries. Delicious, he said.
“That was certainly a fair price,” he said.
Karen Stoupe-Trigg of Tees, her two teenaged boys and their friend, plus her mother had a picnic in the shade. Carrots, cucumbers, buns and fruit were spread out across the blanket.
“Midway food is too expensive — $3 for a bottle of water,” said Stoupe-Trigg. “The (kids) have money to spend at the fairway for treats, but I can control what they are eating at this (supper) meal.”
Sheldon Wiebe of Fort St. John, B.C., said he’s a “hot dog fan” so he had to buy a corn dog from one of a number of trailers selling the main staple.
Corn dogs were around $4.
“We’ve already spent about $50 on food and we just got here,” added uncle Elmer Wiebe of Sylvan Lake. “We usually just go from place to place and eat.”
He especially “likes the rabbit ears” — actually, elephant ears. This fried dough is covered in sugar.
“I’m not supposed to have this — this is the only time I can eat this,” he said. “It’s very fattening.”
Norm Pawloski, of Calgary, is among a number of vendors selling lemonade, a favourite buy during the summer heat.
“We use three ounces of lemon juice in every cup, add our sugar, shake it on ice to get it cold — so you always have a consistent good-tasting lemonade.”
When the weather is cooler, kettle corn is a big seller, Pawloski added.