Festival and fair food courts these days are expected to provide at least one food item that's just insane enough to sound disgusting but just sane enough to taste good.
The Wichita River Festival is meeting expectations this year with chocolate-covered bacon, a confection that will be sold from the new Steak on a Stick booth once the festival opens on Friday.
"I'm not going to lie — I was scared," said Allyson Clark, a festival spokeswoman who taste-tested the treat last week. "Bacon covered with anything sounds gross to me. But it was good."
Steak on a Stick, which also will serve, well, steak on a stick, as well as homemade sweet potato chips, is one of four new vendors at this year's food court.
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Also joining the lineup:
* Dippin Dots, the purveyors of the colorful, globular "Ice Cream of the Future."
* Echo City Concessions, a booth that will feature chicken and sausage pitas, Cajun sausage and reuben sandwiches, a new festival offering.
* QT Kitchen, which will sell QuikTrip's line of stacked sandwiches and wraps.
A couple of booths from last year won't be returning: Blimpie, which was a last-minute fill-in when another food court vendor pulled out, and La Mesa, a Mexican restaurant that has gone out of business.
Several food court favorites will return, including Tad's Bodacious Burrito, Texas Red's BBQ and The Original Corn Roast.
Also returning — the practice the festival initiated last year of selling food court tickets in $1 increments rather than in 50-cent increments. The change made life much easier for volunteer cashiers, Clark said.
The food court is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. today; from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through May 15; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on May 16, the festival's big fireworks finale night.
For more information on concessions, see pages 16 and 17 of the official River Festival guide.