SMETHPORT — A few rain showers and dark skies didn’t keep locals away from the McKean Fair on Tuesday afternoon, especially with all of the food options available.
Scattered in between the traditional funnel cakes, curly fries and corn dogs were plenty of homegrown vendors that offered some unique fair food.
At Mr. D’s Donuts, Dogs & Drinks stand, operators Rob and Bonnie Dickinson offer up their famous mini-donuts as well as speciality hot dogs and drinks.
Rob Dickinson said part of the duo’s success over the past four years at the fair has been their location — which happens to be on the way to the exits.
“We are the last stop before everybody leaves the fair,” he said. “Everybody comes in and they get Italian sausage and all that, and then when everybody leaves for the night they have to get the mini donuts.”
Mr. D’s offers a dozen donuts for $4 or six for $2 as well as a large pickle jar for kids and an authentic sweet tea that is brewed from a recipe straight from the south.
“My daughter’s boyfriend gave me the recipe and he said, ‘I’m going to teach y’all how to do this right,’ Dickinson recalled.
“It’s a family affair, and my kids are a big part of it. I couldn’t do it without them.”
While the family appreciates the support and the profits from their four summers at the McKean County Fair, Rob Dickinson said his favorite part is the comradery he builds with others from the area over the week-long event.
“This is not just a place to make money, it’s a gathering place and it’s a tradition,” he said. “I grew up just up the road, so I’ve lived at the fair for many years as a vendor and as someone in the community.”
A few stands down is local businessman Mike Isadore and his family selling Wellsville Texas Hots from New York.
Mike Isadore’s mom, Kay Skiver, has worked at the Wellsville location for 18 years and the family hatched the idea two years ago to begin selling its products at the fair through Isadore’s Custom Repairs and Automotive business in Smethport.
“You get people down here that see the sign and they say ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve always wanted to go there’ or ‘holy cow, they have the best Texas hots around and we drive over there.’ So the people that haven’t been able to make it, it’s nice to serve them here and for the people who have and like it, they don’t have to do the drive,” Isadore explained.
Isadore was busy grilling the stand’s signature item, a $3 Texas hot that is loaded with meat sauce, onions and mustard, and said that the rarity of the item is what draws the most attention.
“This isn’t a wiener you can go buy,” Isadore said. “This is a specialty-made wiener with its own ingredients that the company makes for (Wellsville).”
Wellsville Texas Hots will be celebrating its 100th year in business in 2021.
Other local options at the fair include the Masonic Liberty Lodge #505 from Port Allegany, which is offering pulled pork and cheese steak sandwiches.
The Smethport Sports Boosters also have a stand, serving traditional options like burgers and fries, as well as jambalaya.
Brandi Reed, of Coudersport, was enjoying a sampling from several different vendors for her dinner Tuesday and was sure to sample a couple local options for her business.
“I come here a couple of times a year and I usually know exactly what I want to eat and I do have to get the traditional offerings,” she explained. “But the food from around here just tastes better.”