By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
From the moment a fairgoer enters the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds in Portales, their senses are quickly assaulted by colorful food booths and an intoxicating blend of sweet, tempting aromas designed to separate you from your money, faster than you can say, “I’ll have two funnel cakes and a turkey leg.”
LaDoris Allison and Norma Belcher were making their way through the fairgrounds main drag Wednesday afternoon.
“I usually get a good hamburger from the 4-H kids, but this year, I had a barbecue sandwich,” Allison said. “It’s just life. You go somewhere and eat something good.”
“I like those curly potatoes. They’re crisp and they have lots of salt on them,” Belcher said.
Even though Portales resident Louella Gallegos claimed that funnel cakes are her favorite fair food, one sweet treat caught her by surprise as the fair opened.
“The smell of the cotton candy struck me,” Gallegos said. “Yesterday we were loading up our booth, and cotton candy is unique to the fair.”
Michael Johnson from My Daddy’s BBQ is in his fifth year at the Roosevelt County Fair, and says pulled pork and beef brisket sandwiches are his most popular food item.
“It’s a one-time deal that you don’t get everyday,” Johnson said. “And the food tastes a little different than it would be in their own home cooking. They get to experience different things that they like.”
Haskell and Pearl Boydston, from Clovis, were visiting the Roosevelt County Fair Wednesday afternoon. Haskell likes barbecue, while wife Pearl likes hot dogs.
“Mostly (I like) barbecue,” Haskell said. “I like barbecue very good. That’s my number one favorite food most anywhere, especially at the fair.”
“(Hot dogs) are fun to eat and enjoy while you’re walking around,” Pearl said.
But not everybody submits to the tasty temptations at the county fair. Betsy Ulyak is active duty military stationed at Cannon Air Force Base, and says her hunger can be satisfied healthier and for less money elsewhere.
“Sometimes it’s just way too expensive,” Ulyak said. “Especially in small areas like this. A lot of people take advantage of people because there’s nowhere else to go, so they jack up prices and it’s not worth what you’re getting for the price.”
Many consider fair food to be an opportunity for social interaction at the fair.
“You can visit with all your friends and have a snack with somebody you know,” Boydston said. “You can meet new people and have a good time.”
“You’re just out, and you’re seeing everything,” Belcher said. “Food just seems to make you feel better and make it all more enjoyable.”
The Roosevelt County Fair is currently under way, and comes to a close on Saturday.