With the arrival of The Great Frederick Fair this week came some great food options. Of course, you can still go to the fair and get your typical fair fare — see what I did there?

You can get your funnel cakes and your popcorn and your deep-fried Oreos, which I admit I did purchase and they were fabulous. But instead of eating the same old thing why not try some of the different and exciting options offered?

I spent the week driving to the grounds, parking my car in the grass and walking around to all the different food vendors to figure out what the best option for hungry stomachs is at all times of the day.

Let’s start with breakfast.

Fair Food

A sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich at Dougherty’s County Kitchen.

To be honest, there is really only one option here. Dougherty’s Country Kitchen located near the South Side Beef Barn. There is a line at almost all hours of the morning and I understand why.

Not only do they offer your standard egg, cheese, and breakfast meat sandwich, they also have a variety of other options: full plates of eggs and hotcakes, pudding and hominy, and chipped beef over everything from toast to more hotcakes.

I chose to get a classic sausage, egg and cheese sandwich and while it’s not the best I’ve ever had it was perfect for a fair setting. It is wrapped in a way that makes eating with one hand easy, which allows you to continue traversing the grounds while munching down a juicy sausage patty and hot-fried egg.

After breakfast, all bets are off as there are so many things to eat. You could probably spend the whole week going to the fair and still not get through every food stall. Tacos, barbecue, crepes, grilled cheese, the list goes on and on.

I tried a lot of these, but my favorite were the tater tots from the Hometown Harvest Kitchen food truck. Not only is it some of the most local food you can get at the fair but it’s also versatile — the tater tots work as both a meal or a quick snack, in my opinion.

And they come in all forms. Whatever flavor or taste you’re craving, Hometown Harvest has it.

Fair Food

Fair Food

Buffalo chicken tater tots at Hometown Harvest Kitchen on the east end of the fair.

There are the “Tropic Thunder Tots” which are topped with chopped pork, pineapple-mango barbecue sauce and jerk slaw. Then there are the “Buffalo Chicken Tots” which are topped with buffalo chicken dip, blue cheese, scallions, and parsley.

The “Breakfast for Dinner Tots”— which are apparently their best seller — made up of a carton of tater tots drenched in sawmill gravy and topped with bacon, cheddar, a fried egg, sriracha, scallions and parsley.

My guests and I tried the “Bacon, Cheddar, Ranch Tots.” Perfectly crisp on the outside with soft potato-goodness on the inside, then covered with bacon bits, what tasted like a ranch-cheese sauce duo, and a little more shredded cheddar and parsley.

The only thing I would have changed is having sliced scallions instead of parsley in order to give it a little extra bite, but c’est la vie.

If you’re looking for the best value at the fair, and you don’t care whether it’s sweet or savory, I would head straight down to Valley Concessions near the Milking Parlor right before the entrance to the Ferris Wheel and other fair rides. They offer an apple dumpling that is without a doubt the best bang for your buck.

Fair Food

A fresh apple dumpling with a scoop of vanilla ice cream at the fair.

It can be ordered two ways — with and without ice cream — I highly recommend it with. When it was our turn to order one of my guests suggested we get two and for some reason I had this gut feeling that we should stick to one. Thank goodness I listened to my gut because what was finally delivered into my hands was the size of a small loaf of bread.

The apple dumpling itself is huge and then add a pile of soft-serve vanilla ice cream on top and you’ve got enough to feed six people. Which happens to work great because it costs $6, meaning it would end up being a dollar a person.

And again, not the best apple dumpling I’ve ever had, but for fair fare — I love this wordplay — it’s great.

So, go to the Great Frederick Fair and get some great Frederick food! And for all our sakes please wait a while after eating before getting on a ride and causing a scene that I can assure you no one wants to see. Have fun!

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill

(13) comments


Hemps Meats roast beef sandwich and a rack with sausage from Ribbins are our go to every year. Noticed that in addition to Hometown Harvest, Dutch's Daughter has a truck at the Fair. The article was seriously lacking.


Really? You went all week (your words) and you reviewed 3 things?


Does the great frederick fair have vegan options?


It depends how strict you are and even then it would be limited. I imagine hometown harvest can make the tots without meat or dairy, but the oil may have been used for non-vegan elements. There is grilled corn in a couple of places. (Going from memory from what I saw yesterday.)


Look forward having apple dump each year after having received recommendation from friends several years ago. Typically eat at J&B but bowl of crab soup was a little short proportional. (Not full). Wife suggest beef sandwich at Hemps was dryer than usual.


Apple dumpling.


YUM! I can't wait to get some more of that slippery pot-pie. The dumplings, the Dragon Ice Cream Balls. I can't leave until I say hi to Uncle Moe and grab some catfish.


"You could probably spend the whole week going to the fair and still not get through every food stall." Oh c'mon. We're Muricans, if we dream it, we can do it.


nothing like promoting healthy foods. no wonder we lead the world in obesity. at least bone spurs and babble about that.


This is a joke, right? Who would call any of this 'food'?


Seriously? What's wrong with some of the 'food' at the fair. I actually had the apple dumpling and it was fantastic. Hemp's meats is amazing and my favorite is J.B. Seafood.




Seriously? What's wrong with some of the 'food' at the fair. I actually had the apple dumpling and it was fantastic. Hemp's meats is amazing and my favorite is J.B. Seafood.

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