Food and flavor at the Sedgwick County Fair

Slices of this chocolate cream pie, among other flavors, are $2.50 at the United Methodist Church at the Sedgwick County Fair.
Slices of this chocolate cream pie, among other flavors, are $2.50 at the United Methodist Church at the Sedgwick County Fair. The Wichita Eagle

Good food is no stranger to the Sedgwick County Fair.

There’s the classics, like Pronto Pups and kettle corn; the childhood favorites, like cotton candy and pizza; and, of course, the picture-worthy turkey legs.

But at the Sedgwick County Fair, some food reflects more tradition than others.

The Cheney United Methodist Church and the Trinity United Christian Church were serving fairgoers long before the days of chocolate-dipped cheesecake and cherry limeades.

As the two longest-running original food booths, dating back to the 1940s, the two churches have earned their reputation for food as good as Grandma cooked it.

“This is like coming home,” said Leslie Leroux, a United Methodist Church volunteer. “It’s a church-family tradition. It’s a time to come together with our community.”

The Cheney United Methodist Church is still serving the same fairgoer favorite volunteers first served after World War II ended: homemade chicken and noodles. They also have new items such as breakfast casseroles and taco salads with shells made from scratch.

“We have (fairgoers) that keep coming back,” Leroux said. “It’s like Grandma would make, that you would sit down with Grandma around the big picnic table.”

Trinity United Christian has changed its menu throughout the years, from sandwiches and fried chicken to their new best seller, homemade bierocks. The church also sells baked potatoes, pies and sloppy joes.

Both churches put in months of labor to bring these fair favorites to Cheney.

“There is a lot of work behind the scenes to put this all together,” said Gary Voth, a volunteer with Trinity United Christian. “All the church ladies get together and put hours and hours into making bierocks to pull this off and bring them here fresh daily.”

Trinity United Christian will serve about 2,000 bierocks stuffed with ground beef, cabbage and carrots and about 100 homemade pies.

The United Methodist Church cracked 60 dozen eggs, cooked 150 chickens and went through 200 pounds of flour for their chicken and noodles, and they started cooking and freezing in June.

“It’s for the church and the community – that’s what I come back for,” said Donna Symes, who has helped make chicken and noodles for than 50 years. “At one time, they didn’t have anything but our food booth and (Trinity United Christian) food booth, so we really supported the fair then.”

Chicken and noodles sell for $6.50 for a regular serving and $3.50 for a small serving. Bierocks are $4.50. Both church booths sell slices of pies for $2.50.

“We are very supportive of each other,” Leroux said, referring to what could be seen as a church-booth rivalry. “We’re all in this for the right reason. We support them, and they support us.”

And if you still have other fair cravings, the Sedgwick County Fair is sure to satisfy with its 11 other food booths.

▪ Aussie Cakes: Funnel cakes, onion blossoms and Navajo tacos

▪ Cotton Candy Dreams: A classic, fairgoer favorite

▪ Black Sheep Kettle Corn: Fresh-made kettle corn and handmade limeades

▪ Cheney Recreation Commission: Hamburgers and brats, located right behind the softball field home plate

▪ D’Mario’s Pizza: Cheesy pizza by the slice

▪ D&J Pronto Pups: In case you didn’t know, this is not an average corndog. Pronto Pups are made with pancake batter.

▪ Delano 4-H Club: Sno-cones served by 4-H members

▪ Kolanders Concessions: Cowboy cheesesteaks, fried tomatoes, chocolate-dipped cheesecake and lemonade.

▪ M&M Concessions: Roasted corn, limeades and lemonade.

▪ Squat & Gobble: A turkey leg is no small snack.

▪ Western Sedgwick County Arena Saddle Club: Hamburgers and hotdogs, open during the Ranch Rodeo and Demolition Derby outside the Fairgrounds Arena

Kaitlyn Alanis: 316-268-6290, @KaitlynAlanis

Sedgwick County Fair

When: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Where: Sedgwick County Fairgrounds, Main Street, Cheney

Admission: Free; admission charge for the demolition derby and carnival rides

More info: www.ourcountyfair.com

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