I know it sounds goofy, but I've always wanted to work in the Indiana Beef Cattle Association
Tent. Their ribeye steak sandwiches are one of my favorite Indiana State Fair foods and I have fond childhood memories of waiting in line with my family and squeezing around a table with strangers and enjoying a delicious sandwich.
The producer-sponsored food ventures (Pork,Dairy, Beef, and Lamb) are fundraisers for the associations and they rely on volunteer help to help prepare and serve the food. Tuesday night the Central Indiana chapter
of the American Culinary Federation was happy to let me join their volunteer group for the evening.
We were responsible for packaging the ribeye sandwiches (and all-beef hot-dogs and bratwurst) as they came off the grill.
My task was keeping the sandwiches stocked and ready for the folks selling them. I spent five hours moving hundreds and hundreds of sandwiches from the volunteers packaging them to the hot holding box to the warming pan and handing them to the cashiers.
I loved every steamy second of it! I got to see lots of folks that I knew - I had a great spot to watch the crowd pass by.
For the record: This is the only time you'll ever see me wearing a visor. Ever.
The Fair was the most crowed I'd ever seen - and it was 10:30 at night! I elbowed my way through the $2 Tuesday throngs of people to the back stretch of the Fairgrounds to get a "Mouse Ear" - the $2 version of an Elephant Ear and an ear of corn. I perched myself on the concrete wall next to the infield track and enjoyed the lights of the Midway and the laughter and screams coming from the rides.
#selfiewithafarmer - Greene County style - these three men all met as young 4-H'rs. All three raise cattle, and between them they also grow grains and raise hogs. I had a blast working with them in the ribeye tent - and you'll notice that I got them to trade the visor for a hat.
Nora Spitznogle is a nonprofit director by day and year-round Indiana State Fair geek. She hasn't missed a single day of the Fair in over a decade and the stack of ribbons from entering baking competitions and ugly lamp contests in the Open Show are among her prized possessions.