From September 26-29, the 94th annual Durham Fair was held in the small town of Durham, Connecticut. Although Durham’s population is just over 6,600 residents, over 200,000 people travelled from all over the state, making this year’s fair the most successful in over a decade. While the picture perfect weather, state record-breaking 1766.5lb pumpkin, and new elephant experience show surely drew in crowds, I attended for a different reason: THE FOOD.
Not only does the Durham Fair provide live musical entertainment, agriculture and art exhibits, rides, and more; it also provides visitors with a wide array of deliciously unhealthy treats to choose from. The variety of food available at the Durham Fair is endless. There is everything from traditional carnival food like caramel apples, cotton candy, and fried dough to unexpected surprises such as Polish platters (highly recommended), gargantuan turkey legs, and clam chowder served in a bread bowl (also extremely delicious).
As a Middletown resident of 18 years, I have driven to Durham to enjoy this annual event a fair number of times. By now, I have learned that, to make the most out of the fair, you should come extremely hungry.
I hadn’t even walked 100 feet before I found myself with a blooming onion – a Durham fair favorite – in my hands. The smell of the deep-fried lotus flower of perfection tantalized my senses and within minutes the entire plate was littered with mere crumbs to remind me what was once there.
Within 20 minutes, my brother, Max, who was my partner in this delectable adventure, scoped out a food truck specializing in fried desserts. He ordered some deep fried brownie bites; I ordered the deep fried cheesecake with strawberry sauce. After downing my pillow of cheesecakey goodness, I helped Max finish his slightly undercooked – in that good kind of gooey way – brownie bites.
As night began to fall, I somehow found more room in my stomach for the savory novelties of the Durham Fair. I could not leave the fair without having some clam chowder served in a bread bowl. I shared this personal favorite with my mom who is a connoisseur of soups, bisques, and such. Her critique was that it was not thick enough, and I agreed wholeheartedly. After meeting up with some friends to enjoy some of the questionably safe rollercoasters and rides, I ended my night with a chocolate covered banana and an ice cream cone: chocolate/vanilla swirl. I left the Durham Fair that night with my stomach content. There’s nothing like some good old fashioned fair food. I can’t wait to see what Durham has in store for us next year.
- William Molski ‘17