Tasty treats annual tradition

Thousands will be indulging in tenderloins, funnel cakes and lemon shakeups at the Johnson County fair this week.

Food stands line the path toward the midway, ready to serve customers their deep fried foods and sweet treats. But it’s not as easy as simply handing a hand-dipped corn dog to customers — it’s hard work and long hours spent in the heat making sure customers are satisfied, said Jessica Arendas, who works at a corn dog stand.

“It’s already hot out and then you have the fryers going too with multiple people in your booth, it’s very rough,” Arendas said. “But I can’t wait for everyone to get out here.”

Arendas, of Indianapolis, has been hand-dipping corn dogs for three years. She travels to different fairs and festivals throughout central Indiana. Although she is used to being busy, she said preparing for the thousands of fair-goers can be harder than the fair week itself.

Arendas works multiple stands, so sometimes she has to work at one festival during the day then travel to an upcoming fair to ensure everything is set up and ready to go for the minute people start to line up.

“It’s hard, it really is, but it’s worth it,” Arendas said. “I love seeing the smiling faces of the kids and when the fair is over, I admit it’s kind of sad.”

Matthew Summers, who works at a lemon shakeup booth, said some days he has to work 12 hours in the heat, but it’s worth it.

“I think I have the dream summer job,” Summers said. “I get to travel around the state and talk to really cool people while giving them something good to drink — it’s awesome.”

Both Arendas and Summers said the best way to prepare for the long, hot days is to keep a positive attitude and always have a smile on your face.