A look inside this year’s Champlain Valley Fair

ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) – The “10 best days of summer” are going strong at the Champlain Valley Fair in Essex Junction. This is day four of the fun.

Of course, fair food is always popular, but it’s not the only attraction.

I found a tent full of puppies! There are also the Mackenzie Racing Pigs, petting zoos, agricultural displays and even a whoopie pie contest. And of course, all your favorite fair rides. There are plenty of other things to check out as well.

I found one awfully fly attraction– the parakeet tent. For $3 you can go in and meet your new best friend.

While many may associate the fair with agriculture, there are many more animals than just cows to be found here.

I also ventured into the exotic animals tent put on by Eudora Farms. They say it’s an interactive, educational exhibit that’s fun for the whole family. Inside you can find camels, lemurs, kangaroos and other livestock that come from all different parts of the world. They say they hope people come in for a learning experience.

“These are animals that you’re not going to see every day. Now, all these animals are born and bred here in the U.S. but they’re animals that originally come from other parts of the world. So it’s all about animal conservation and preservation and the first step of that is learning about the animals. We have educational signs and very well-trained staff and they’ll teach you everything about these animals that you can find all over the world,” said Gregory Steadman of Eudora Farms.

Walking around the exotic animals tent is free, but you can also pay to feed them carrots and grain if you’d like.

While exotic animals are definitely fun, the food is one of the biggest draws of the fair.

It’s loaded with all the fan favorites: fried dough, fried Oreos, deep-fried tacos and kettle corn.

But this year, there are some nontraditional food options at the fair that may help folks with allergies, or anyone looking to expand their menu.

Burlington-based “A Single Pebble” is serving traditional Chinese food.

One customer there was happy to see a local business serving something other than fried fare.

“For me, I can’t eat normal fried food, I’d like to but I can’t. And I’d rather not be in pain,” said Maryah Merlo, a customer at A Single Pebble. “Also I’m coming back later and I will probably get something disgusting with my son.”

For those looking for different but still sweet, there’s a great option for you as well.

Earlier today we also found a doughnut truck based out of St. Albans making their truck debut– Hangry the Donut Bar. They were serving snickers, French toast and hot Cheetos doughnuts.

“It’s been good, you know? Like I said, it’s our first year, so it’s been woo, but once people try it, that’s the thing. You gotta try it and yeah they’re doing pretty good. They’re loving it. We’re getting a lot of good feedback which makes my heart very happy,” said Erica McClain of Hangry the Donut Bar.

There are also local BBQ joints, maple everything and even a muffin stand.

So allergies, preferences and diets alike, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Some fairgoers even learned how to cook for themselves.

Uncommon Roots on Monday taught people how to make a frittata.

This is the 5th year that these cooking demos will be held at the fair.

The Ware building is a little off the beaten path, but this is a real hidden gem if you’re looking for something different.

In addition to cooking demonstrations, they also do food contests each day. Tuesday, this place will be full of whoopie pies.

An Elton John tribute concert is scheduled for Monday night. It’s free for fairgoers.

The fair runs through Sept. 5. Visit the Champlain Valley Fair website for all the schedules and details on tickets.

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Monday August 30, 2021