'My saving grace': Fair food event allows vendors to turn profit for first time since COVID-19 pandemic

Friday, October 23, 2020
Fair food vendors thriving despite NC State Fair being canceled
One vendor called the event a "saving grace" in what's been a tough year.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The North Carolina State Fair might be canceled, but this year's fair food frenzy at the fairgrounds is helping local vendors salvage the season.

The sights might be different--no rides, no crowds--but the scene of sizzling fair food still greets you at the fairgrounds.

"Coming into this I didn't know what to expect I didn't know whether it was going to be slow or busy," said Cameron Murray owner of Chester's Gators and Taters.

But after the first few days of the fair food event. Chester's Gators and Tators started seeing its first gains of the year.

SEE ALSO: Get your fair-food fix at the NC State Fair Food Days

"Up until this point we've lost 100 percent of our income this year because of Coronavirus," Murray said. "I probably would say this was my saving grace. Yeah, we've been shut down all year long."

Murray is a Triangle native but he works at state fairs up and down the East Coast. Many of those were canceled too, so when the North Carolina State Fair announced its 2020 Fair Food event, he knew this was an opportunity he had to seize.

"Probably pretty par to last year's sales. With just 22 of us, obviously not getting the one million people like we normally do with the fair, it's all about proportion," Murray said.

Meanwhile at Moose's Joose,, owner Jodie Comklin also squeezing out some extra income.

"This will definitely help us get through the holidays," Comklin said.

So while the rides and thrills might've been canceled. This year's fair food event proves that if you grill or fry it, North Carolinians will find it.

"I come every year to the fair. I always get a turkey leg. I came earlier and it was a little long. So I came early to get my turkey leg and all of my little eats," Diane Marvin said.