It's summertime and that means indulging in the fried, yummy goodness of carnival food.
From the traditional candy apples and funnel cakes to the more unusual chocolate-covered frozen bananas, local food lovers can enjoy some guilty indulgences.
Larry Moats of Fayetteville, Pa., teased that he went into training for the Waynesboro Fire Department's annual Carnival at the Quincy Ox Roast Grounds last week.
Moats ate only half a ham-and-cheese sandwich before going to the fair, so he could save plenty of room for a big splurge at the carnival.
"I look forward to the food. It's fattening, decadent and all that good stuff — that's absolutely what makes it great," Moats said.
He couldn't pass by Antietam Dairy's trademark blue truck but thought it best to buy a cup of Loose Moose-flavored ice cream rather than a cone.
"The weather's not conducive to a cone. And don't ask me what's in the Loose Moose," Moats said. "I just like the name — that's why I got it."
Owner of Antietam Dairy Jake Sweet said the unique name — Loose Moose — contains chocolate and peanut butter cup. It's one of the dairy's 80 homemade flavors.
"I already had a pork tenderloin and a Pepsi to wash it all down. Next on the list is either a country ham or a steamer. I'm grazing and then I'm going home," Moats said.
Waynesboro Fire Department Carnival Chair Steve Biesecker said the event is one of the department's biggest fundraisers. Last year, the carnival raised $50,000.
Hungry customers waited for homemade food from the fire department's stand.
"The fire department food is the best. We take a lot of pride in what we make, and we buy locally," Biesecker said.
Lt. John Beck worked over a hot grill cooking up country ham, hamburgers and Italian sausage as temperatures in the kitchen rose to 100 degrees.
Beck and the other volunteers began their day at 2 p.m. working until 11 p.m. in order to satisfy everyone's appetite.
It's quite an undertaking to feed the hungry crowd at the carnival.
"We start out with 150 pounds of ground beef that we use strictly for steamers. We start out with 150 pounds of fresh patties, 100 pounds of hot dogs, 65 pounds of country ham, 50 pounds of bacon, three quarters of a ton of potatoes for french fries, 100 dozen hamburger rolls, 50 dozen steak rolls and 50 dozen hot dog rolls," said Jerry Hartman, kitchen chair and fire marshal.
He said the biggest seller is the cheeseburger and the bacon cheeseburger — with two strips of bacon piled on each burger.
The average cost of a sandwich is $4.
"We have a lot of repeat customers," Hartman said.
Visitors also come for the fire company's four specialty soups: chicken corn soup, slippery country ham potpie, ham and bean and vegetable soup.
While carnival-goers were snatching up treats like funnel cakes and french fries, the frozen banana stand wasn't getting much business.
Vendor Chellsey Holland said people would like them if they tried them.
"They're good. What's not good about a frozen banana dipped in chocolate?" she said.
The tasty treat might not have caught on in Franklin County yet, but Holland said it's all the rage in Maryland, Vermont and New Jersey.
Finally, Tabitha Noll, 14, Waynesboro, Pa., bought one of the $1 chilly delights.
"I like them because they have chocolate on them, and I like bananas. And they take longer to eat so they fill you up, and they don't melt like ice cream," Tabitha said.
Her friend Lindsay Harvour, 13, Waynesboro was in search of elephant ears, a treat similar to a funnel cake but shaped like an elephant ear.
"They're really good, but I haven't seen them. I might have to settle for a funnel cake or french fries," said Lindsay.
So far, deep-fried butter, and deep-fried candy bars haven't caught on locally, but some of the locals said they might be willing to try them.
At the Rescue Hose Company Carnival in Greencastle, which was the week of July 18, Leann Bailey of Greencastle, Pa., looked forward to the scrumptious food.
She balanced a funnel cake in her right hand and a slice of pizza in her left hand as she weaved through the crowd.
"My daughter looks forward to the rides, and I look forward to the candy apples and funnel cake," said Bailey.
You can't worry about calories, she said.
"This is a once-a-year thing. You just come, have fun and worry about (the calories) later," Bailey said.
The HoCo burger — an acronym for Hose Company — has been a mainstay of the carnival for more than 50 years.
On the first night of the carnival, organizers said 1,200 HoCo burgers were sold.
The HoCo burger is a steamer done on a grill rather than steamed, according to volunteer Kellie Summers.
But, that's all the secrets you'll learn about the HoCo burger.
Elmer Landis, with the Rescue Hose Company, joked that the HoCo burgers are so good because, "they are made with love."
Six-year-old Darren Kline of Greencastle devoured two HoCo burgers slathered in ketchup.
While steak is Darren's favorite, he said the HoCo burgers are a close second.
"They are better cooks than my mom," Darren said with a sly smile.
Where the food is
If you love good foods — here are a few places to go:
- Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Co. carnival, Clear Spring carnival grounds off Big Spring Road. Grounds open at 5 p.m. daily through Saturday, Aug. 6. Go to www.clearspringfire.net.
- Shade Gap Volunteer Fire Co.'s Shade Gap Picnic, 7 p.m. today through Friday, Aug. 5, and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, Harpers Memorial Park, 11880 Neelytown Road, Shade Gap, Pa. Admission varies by day. Call 814-259-3252 or go to www.shadegappicnic.com.
- Mercersburg Lions Club Fair, Lions Club Park, 405 Park Ave., Mercersburg, Pa., opens at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8, through Saturday, Aug. 13. Free admission and parking.
- Williamsport Carnival, Sunday, Aug. 14 through Sunday, Aug. 21, Byron Park, off U.S. 11, Williamsport. Opens at 5 p.m. nightly. Rides, entertainment, games and food. Call 301-223-7711.
- Fairplay Days, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, and Sunday, Aug. 14, noon to 5 p.m. Tilghmanton Woods, corner of Manor Church and Breathedsville Road, Fairplay. Free admission. Call 301-582-1005.