al's french frys fair food

The Al's French Frys shack at the Champlain Valley Exposition.

ESSEX JUNCTION -- There are many reasons that people flock to the Champlain Valley Exposition (CVE) every summer, but one of those appeals to the senses in different ways than the others.

While the 2020 Champlain Valley Fair has been cancelled, the expo has created an alternative for those looking for their annual fried dough -- or for something new to try -- to satisfy that craving. CVE announced that it will be holding the Taste of the Fair in late July for the public to still enjoy a piece of the experience that they’d otherwise be missing out on.

“This may not be the full Champlain Valley Fair we all look forward to, but this event will surely keep the spirit of the Fair thriving!” said Jeff Bartley, sales and marketing manager for the Champlain Valley Exposition. “The Taste of the Fair event will provide many wonderful tastes fairgoers are accustomed to.”

The weekend -- admission to which is free -- will see a dozen food and drink vendors set up on the midway lawn and offer attendees an array of items including cotton candy, deep-fried tacos, bacon on a stick, shaved ice, Brazilian barbeque, loaded tater tots, and gourmet burgers. Another option will be the always-popular staple of the fairgrounds: Al’s French Frys.

“Of course the safety of our fairgoers, volunteers, and staff is paramount,” said Bartley. “We will be adhering to all CDC, state, and federal guidelines. More information will be distributed as we move closer to the event. Guidelines may include restrictions on attendees, sanitization requirements, and of course strict social distancing.”

The event kicks off Friday, July 24 from 4-9 p.m. It will be open that Saturday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and then concludes Sunday with hours of 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. While people will be able to drive directly into the midway, park, purchase, and then enjoy their food and drink from the comfort of their vehicle, there will also be limited seating available.

“We’d like to thank our sponsors for helping make this event possible including Farrell Distributing, NorthCountry Federal Credit Union, WCAX, 98.9 WOKO, JaniTech and Stella Artois,” added Bartley. “The Champlain Valley Exposition will continue to solicit sponsors to help make this event a success.”

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