The Grape Festival might have been canceled due to the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some delicious fair food. Cotton candy, corn dogs and deep fried Twinkies were all selling like hot cakes during the Lodi Grape Festival’s Fair Food Frenzy this past weekend.
Cars were lining up in an orderly fashion, directed by multiple staff with large orange flags as they navigated the “course” to get to the final destination and their tasty treats.
Hungry drivers entered the fairgrounds at the corner of Lockeford and Calaveras streets, where they were handed a menu to fill out their selections. The menu was divided up by food stand, and listed everything from funnel cake to regular and jumbo corn dogs.
After making their way through a snaking path in the parking lot, drivers entered the fairgrounds where they placed and paid for their orders before looping around and picking up their food.
Two lines of cars were tended by multiple staff and volunteers, who dashed between the food stands to gather their orders and bring them to the cars. Big churros were handed through car windows, along with bags and boxes of freshly made food.
Josie Negrette, owner of Negrette Enterprise, was busy serving their famous rolled soft tacos. She said they have been selling the tacos since 1947, and have been a staple at the Grape Festival for 40 years. Prior to the event, a lot of people had been reaching out to them and asking if they were going to participate.
They showed up and they delivered.
“Yesterday we sold 100 tacos to one person, and then the next one wanted 30, the next one wanted 40. It’s not just one taco per person. They are all anxious — they are not going to be able to eat this taco until next year,” Negrette said.
Lance Moyer, with Butler Amusements, was very appreciative the Grape Festival gave the company the opportunity to come out and participate in the Food Frenzy. He said hundreds of his workers lost their jobs when the fair season was canceled.
“The fair putting this on, and letting us bring our food stands in here, has been a tremendous thing. It’s keeping about 30 of my people working, and we’re putting a little more money back into the community,” Moyer said.
He estimated they had seen about 400-500 cars come through by mid-day Saturday, and was hoping to see another 500 before the weekend was over.
“The more the merrier,” he said.
He said some of the popular orders were corn dogs, cotton candy, and kettle corn.
Brian Roberts of Lodi took his three sons through the drive-thru.
“It’s nice, since they can’t have the fair, at least they have a little bit of the experience,” he said.
Rochelle Holder of Lodi and her family were eagerly waiting in the car for their food. The family was going all out, ordering corn dogs, jumbo corn dogs, tacos and nachos.
“I think it’s awesome. We love fair food. We’re coming back for dessert,” she said.