BERRIEN SPRINGS — Al-though the 75th anniversary celebration of the Berrien County Youth Fair has been postponed to 2021 (with a “Berrien County Showcase” planned this summer for youth exhibitors), the fairgrounds were filled with people lined up to get a taste of their summer favorites on June 19, 20 and 21.
The fairgrounds in Berrien Springs were the site of a three-day “Fair Food Drive Thru” event over Father’s Day weekend featuring Youth Fair vendors serving up everything from French fries and lemonade to sweet treats and “Korn Dogs.”
Fair officials said the cash-only event was aimed at helping concession vendors as well as the Berrien County Youth Fair (BCYF) during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Drive Thru line began at Gate 3 of the fairgrounds (4293 E. Shawnee Road) and followed a route that began with French fries and ended at Wagner’s Ice Cream.
Food vendors participating in the drive through included: The Friends for Berrien Springs’ Korn Dog Booth; The Pretzel Wagon; Rosie’s Sweet Shack; Colglazier’s Elephant Ears and Colglazier’s Steak Tips; Barbie’s Cookies; Wagner’s Good Dips Ice Cream; Fiske French Fries and Fiske Lemonade; and Food Court Concessions’ Mexican Food Trailer.
For Steve Rumsey of Bridgman it was chance to enjoy a “Father’s Day lunch” of fries, lemonade and Korn Dogs bought by his stepson, Caleb Barker (who also drove).
Jeff Wagner of Wagner’s Good Dips said the Friday Drive Thru event was extremely busy, and it was again on Saturday with vehicles lined up nearly to Shawnee Road as of about 1:15 p.m.
Wagner noted that the Cass County Fair has held two food drive-throughs so far, adding that they come in handy since only three of the 12 events Wagner’s Good Dips usually participates in during the summer have not been cancelled.
The Korn Dog booth serves not only as a Berrien County Youth Fair favorite for many — it also raises money for community support such as scholarships and sponsorships provided by The Friends for Berrien Springs.
Sabrina Pesce of the Friends group said regular and veggie Korn Dogs were being served during the June19-21 Drive Thru.
“Yesterday we did like 3,000 Korn Dogs,” she said on Saturday (over a normal fair week Pesce said they sell about 40,000).
One of the first booths drivers came to was Barbie’s Cookies, and those who were there the previous evening said the line was so long that drivers were still arriving hours after the gates had closed at 7 p.m.)
A June 21 post on the Youth Fair’s Facebook page thanked “fair friends” for the overwhelming turnout that “helped to support not only the BCYF, but 10 of our Fair food vendors!”
“Because of such a great turnout and many suggestions, we have decided to schedule another Fair food drive thru event! Mark your calendars for July 17, 18, 19 and keep an eye out for more details as we start planning the next one.”
The Board of Directors of the Berrien County Youth Fair announced on June 18 that after much discussion over the past three months it had decided to postpone the 75th Anniversary Berrien County Youth Fair to August 16-21, 2021.
According to a June 18 press release, the Board of Directors and Youth Fair volunteers are planning a showcase and exhibition for the youth this summer. Slated for August 15-23, the “Berrien County Showcase – Where Youth are Essential” will allow the fair to showcase the exhibits of our county’s youth in a different format and still comply with the executive orders related to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the June 18 release, the Berrien County Showcase “will be open to Berrien County Youth between the ages of 5 and 20 as of January 1. Exhibitor eligibility rules will still apply. There will be no premiums paid to the exhibitors, no traditional BCYF ribbons and no trophies. The showcase will not be open to the public. Only exhibitors and their parents/guardians should plan to attend the Showcase. There will be a one-day showcase for all exhibit areas and there may be multiple department showcases each day. More information, including livestock auction information, will be published as decisions are made.”
“This decision was not made in haste. Many months of discussion and sleepless nights went into this decision that the Board feels will ultimately protect the health of our exhibitors and fair-goers. Thinking outside the box and coming up with workable and safe solutions has been in the forefront of our Board’s decision making process.
Thank you for your patience during this process and thank you for your support of the Berrien County 2020 Showcase – Where Youth are Essential. We look forward to celebrating the 75th BCYF in 2021 where hopefully no masks will be required.”