OWEGO (WBNG) — Today was day two of the Fair Food Feast at the Tioga County fairgrounds, and operator Jerry Gillette says for him, the event is a small slice of normalcy.
“I think I have a carnival here even though I don’t, but it’s something that keeps me mentally okay,” he said.
Gillette makes a living bringing people the magic of a day at the fair.
“I own a complete traveling carnival, rides, games, food,” he said. “We travel through the northeast, a lot of the county fairs in New York, plus Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Connecticut.”
He says the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on seasonal business owners like himself.
“This is our livelihood from April to October, that’s the span of our business, and if we lose that we lose a lot,” he said.
So, he started bringing his traveling fair feast to fairgrounds across the northeast, managing each booth, from funnel cakes to lemonade, with help from his staff.
He says he does it to give himself a sense of normalcy, while also doing it for anyone else who is missing out on a trip to the fair.
“People come to the fair not just for the fair, they come for the food also. They come for the food, the agricultural, and it’s just one small thing we can bring back to the fair,” he said.
An excuse to get out and enjoy this most unusual Labor Day Weekend
“Come out and enjoy the fair food and just get out and have a picnic. Pick up your drive-through food and have a picnic right at the fairgrounds, it’s something to do,” he said.
The feast continues Sunday from 12 to 6 p.m.