For many, a funnel cake, Italian sausage or pile of fresh cut French fries is as much a part of a festival as fun, games and entertainment.
This year, ChesterFest will feature veteran vendors with familiar favorites and new booths offering exotic tastes.
Dave Nunnally, of McBrand Foods, Inc., will return with his booth, which will feature Italian sausages, cheese steaks, corndogs, ribbon fries, fresh cut fries and fresh squeezed lemonade. Nunnally said he expects to go through 80 pounds of Italian sausage, 70-80 pounds of cheese steak and probably 300 pounds of potatoes.
“It’s usually a pretty good crowd and everything sells well,” he said. “It’s food you can’t get but once or twice a year. It’s not something like pizza or hamburgers that you see all the time.”
Nader Bistro, a new vendor this year, will offer a variety of Greek and Middle Eastern foods, including lamb, chicken and beef gyros, falafel, humus and Greek salad, said Virginia Hagez. Hagez said she’s been in the business for more than 30 years and goes to about 50 events a year.
Nunnally’s father owned a meat plant in Richmond that had the contract for Virginia’s State Fair, he said, and he got to know some of the fair vendors. Nunnally went to work for one of the vendors and ultimately asked the vendor to teach him about the business, he said. The business started with one tent and a handful of grills and fryers, he said.
“It’s just kind of grown from there,” he said of the company, which now owns five trucks and a multitude of grills and fryers. “You get to go out and see different things, but we’re home every Sunday night.”
Hagez said she’s found that people like having the opportunity to try new foods at festivals.
“I think that when we started like 30 years ago, they didn’t know what ‘gyro’ was,” she said. Now, people tend to be more aware of different kinds of food, she said, and people who like one kind of gyro appreciate being able to try them with different meats. The booth also offers a vegetarian option in the falafel, she said.