A vegan forages for food at the Walworth County Fair

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Andrea Anderson
Thursday, August 28, 2014

ELKHORN—The smell of popcorn, deep-fried food and livestock greeted me as I stepped onto the grounds of the Walworth County Fair.

Meandering toward the rows of food stalls, the smell of funnel cake cut through the air and spatulas could be heard flipping burgers later handed to hungry fairgoers.

They have it so easy, I thought to myself as I passed people carefully eating cream puffs and a toddler nibbling a corn dog longer than his torso.

It was my first time at the Walworth County Fair and my first fair as a vegan.

A vegan is a person who does not eat food that comes from or is made from an animal or animal by-product. That means no dairy, meat, eggs or honey.

If you were my father, you'd give a confused look then offer me a steak.

Most people ask, 'What are you thinking?' Followed by, 'What can you eat?'

Lots of things, just not a lot of things at fairs as it turns out, with the exception of potatoes and sweet corn.

While perusing the rows of food stalls, fellow reporter Cathy Idzerda and I decided to support local vendors rather than chains.

Everywhere I looked there was a meat-something on a menu.

Corn dog, hamburger, pork rib wings, sliced leg sandwich (I didn't even want to know what that meant).

With each potential possibility the feeling of excitement and joy rushed over me because it meant my growling stomach could soon be silenced.

Happy feelings began to evaporate and the growling seemed to grow louder when possibilities turned into definite nos.

Blooming onion? Nope. The batter included eggs.

Funnel cake? Absolutely not, the ingredients had the double-whammy of eggs and milk.

A wrap? Unfortunately no. Filled with meat.

We eventually stumbled upon Lake Geneva's Su Wings Chinese Restaurant booth.

Tempura, lightly breaded fried vegetables, would be my main dish. For $5, you get a paper bowel filled with delicious sweet potatoes, onions, green pepper and zucchini. My heart was happy and my stomach silenced.

A lemonade, $5 with unlimited refills from Squire's Dog Haus, accompanied the veggies.

I plotted my next course as Cathy ate her corn dog, a Gazette photographer gnawed on pork rib wings and a woman at our table ate a plate full of pizza.

The Delavan Lion's Club corn on the cob was next. It was divine.

It's $3 an ear, proceeds go to a good cause and it's the perfect food to celebrate the end of summer.

The first ear meant for me was immediately dipped in butter. I quickly said, 'No butter,' but it was too late. Instead of having to pay for another, the ladies at the booth generously offered a new one, free of butter and charge.

The $3 was worth the remnants of corn stuck in my teeth. 

Getting full, despite having shared the vegetables and eating half the corn, we set out for dessert.

While Cathy's face was speckled with Sweet Adelines' cream puff, my hands were sticky from my $3.50 snow cone from Squire's.

The woman who works there has been at the fair for 41 years and offers 23 flavors.

Mine was a rum and coke. Don't worry, it was virgin. Don't let its small size fool you, the sweetness packs a punch and is easily sharable. I ate less than one-quarter of mine.

All-in-all, Cathy certainly had more options and found her food much faster, but she didn't feel so well later.

I felt perfectly content and pleasantly full. 

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