Sandwich Fair goers rank corn dogs, elephant ears, lemon shake-ups and ‘pork options’ among their favorites

Ask a long-time Sandwich Fair goer why they return to the fair every year and they’re more than likely to say the food.

Fair goers ranked the fair’s wide variety of food offerings as the fair’s top attraction in a recent Shaw Local News Network online survey. The 134th edition of the fair will open next Wednesday, Sept. 7 and continue through Sunday, Sept. 11 at 15730 Pratt Road in Sandwich.

The most common answers for favorite fair foods were corn dogs, elephant ears and lemon shake-ups, the survey found.

A large number of fair goers also picked a variety of pork options as their food of choice, including Pork Po’ boys, pork chops on sticks, pulled pork, pork chop dinners and more. Many different pork stands were claimed by respondents to be the fair’s best.

Frequently mentioned favorite food vendors included Helen’s, St. Paul’s the Apostle Catholic Church of Sandwich, 5B’s Catering Service and the Crab Shack. Many fair goers also paid tribute to the former Fay’s BBQ stand.

Mary Ann Waits has been going to the Sandwich Fair for over 30 years and claims there’s something heavenly about Helen’s ribs.

Waits said what sets Helen’s apart is the huge smokers billowing from behind their stand and the fall-off-the-bone tenderness of the ribs.

“Just the smell of the smoke, oh my goodness,” Waits said. “It’s like heaven. I always bring them home and eat off of them for a couple days, they’re so good.”

Waits said the people working at Helen’s are always warm and genuine, and though there can be a line, it’s well worth the wait.

St. Paul’s was also highly regarded by fair goers for their breakfast served all day long. St. Paul’s stand has been an institution at the fairgrounds for the last 60 years.

The next most common fair favorite attraction was the many animals with horses topping the survey.

The draft horses received the most mention. Draft horses, in sets of two, pull carts and vehicles weighing over 3,000 pounds. The western horse show and harness racing were also fan favorite events.

Michelle Leedham has been to the fair more than 20 times and said her favorite event is the western horse show. Leedham said she likes the barrel racing and roping events at the western shows, but also appreciates the size and beauty of the draft horses.

Leedham said the harness racers are also one of her favorite events. She said she enjoys watching with her friends and betting quarters on the horses.

The petting zoo was the next favorite animal attraction, followed by the judged livestock and swine shows.

Lastly, many survey respondents identified various exhibits as their choice for favorite fair attraction.

Among the favorite exhibits were craft demonstrations, especially those in the home arts building. Many fair goers said looking at the knitting, crocheting and needlework was their favorite part of the fair.

Sheryl McAlearney has been to the fair over 20 times and said that what she loves about the fair is the tradition of it. She said if you remember a display you marveled at the year before, you can go back to the same spot and see what’s new.

“What I love about that is the creativity of the people who enter items,” McAlearney said. “Every year I’m amazed by the quilts and the unique patterns they have in them. There’s so many beautiful things that people do, I’m always kind of in awe.”

Photography, antique agriculture equipment, and baking exhibits also ranked among the survey favorites.

Larry Dannewitz, president of the fair’s Board of Directors since 2012, said one thing that sets the fair apart from other fairs are the exhibits.

In total, Dannewitz said there are usually around 25,000 entries competing in exhibits throughout the fair.

“We really take pride in the number of the exhibitors we have,” he said.

Hours of the fair will be 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. on Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

For general information on the fair including times, pricing, events and promotions, see the Sandwich Fair Preview.