Fair Food – Winfield, KS

So, when I go to the Walnut Valley Festival (they call it “the Bluegrass”, we call it “Winfield”), there are generally abundances of three things: music, friends and food.  Most of the time we eat in camp, but occasionally we go out, (like the jaunt to the Burger Station), but the other choice is food on the fairway.

So let’s take a tour of the midway.  As you walk in the main gate, on the left you start with Ice Cream.  This is both sequential and ideological.

I don’t know Dave and Jan, but I love them. Imagine the best homemade ice cream, ever. You start by trading in your one gallon home maker to two ten gallon makers run by an engine. Amazing design, amazing home made ice cream. Any flavor that you want, as long as it is vanilla.

Up next?  Kettle corn.  I’ll caveat that I’m not a popcorn fan, but this is different and better.  Winfield is not for culinary amateurs.  At no time should you attempt to eat each of these things at the same time.

Across the way is the roasted corn and baked potato stand.  There is a constant flow of corn to the grill, stripped of the silks, but still in the husks.  The roasted corn is then dipped in melted butter and handed to you with a handful of napkins.  The perfect walking snack.  To the left of the corn stand are the greek place (good gyros) and the barbecue place (decent pork, good brisket).

Still on the left, is the coffee joint, the Lions Club booth (where they have a really good pork burger -it’s a pork patty pan-fried and covered in Cheese Whiz.  How could it not be good?), then the sorority booth (home of the $1.00 Cokes and the late-night special biscuits and gravy) and the 4-H food stand (one of the few places that I’ve never eaten).

Back to the right (good) side of the midway:  Beside the Kettle Corn booth is the sandwich stand, home of the Reuben.  One of our friends recommended this to Jo and she had one for lunch one day, with the admonition to ask for her Reuben extra crispy.So she did – and she wished she’d had one every day instead of just on Saturday…

Next is the Lemonade stand. I pity the girl that spends her day here.

Pretty good lemonade, though.

Behind it are all of the “fried food” stands: the fried pork sandwich (imagine a pork Chick-fil-A on a white bun) place, the fried chicken / fish / okra / peaches stand (we’ll get back to the peaches), the Indian Taco stand (pictured, but not recommended) and the Funnel Cake stand.

After the fried food section, there’s a root beer stand (which was closed for the entire festival this year due to inclement weather), Gobble and Squat (another barbecue place), a Cajun stand (I was recommended to not eat there) and a breakfast place.

Did I miss any place? I don’t think so.

But I did miss one thing – the Winfield trifecta.  We discovered this one year by happenstance and it has become tradition.  First, you need two friends (this has occasionally been a challenge for me ) and then you divide and conquer.  Each one of the three of you buys an ingredient: home-made ice cream, a funnel cake and fried peaches.  If you’ve never had fried peaches, the concept is similar to fried pickles – they slice the peach into length-wise spears, batter and deep fry them.  The key to the trifecta is the combination.  This year, there were eight of us, so we took three of each:

Amazingly, all plates were cleared in a collective fifteen minutes, over much laughter.


  1. Interested in knowing why you wouldn’t recommend the Indian Taco Stand?

    1. Beth – it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything special. The Indian tacos were like tostadas. Fine, but there were so many non-make it yourself options. At WVF 2012, we made several pilgrimages to the organic truck. Good, healthier choices.

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