Street View
By Rob Frank GoErie.com staff blogger
This is the Go Erie Street View blog. Follow us out on our adventures as we capture Erie events on camera!   Read more about this blog.
Posted: August 26th, 2011
The Dairy Committee does not slack on serving size.

The Dairy Committee does not slack on serving size.

State and County fairs are infamous for their eclectic food offerings. A week’s worth of food for a week at the Crawford County Fair.

What: Dairy Committee ice cream

Description: This sweet treat has become tradition for many families and visitors of the fair. Thick, creamy milk from Crawford County cows is churned to create smooth, delicious soft serve ice cream.

Testimonial: “Best ice cream ever,” said Cathy Cummings of McCain. “I’m on a diet, and this is blowing it.”

While deciding what I should order, I saw people walking away with what looked like a foot of soft serve on their cone–the Committee doesn’t slack on serving size. I made sure I got the small, and ordered the most popular, the twist.

“I think people get the twist, because they can’t decide,” said Trish Sweatman, who started working as a window girl at the stand in 1996.

Sweatman, of Venango, is now Manager of the Dairy Committee stand during the fair. ”Whole reason I got started was because I was involved with dairy 4-H,” Sweatman said. “Now I just love it. We all make it a good time back there.”

I was happy to try their small twist--the Committee's most popular seller.

I was happy to try their small twist--the Committee's most popular seller.

Proceeds from ice cream sales go towards supporting the Dairy Committee throughout the year. This year, the funds went towards the construction to help fiance the new dairy barn at the fair.

Cost: $1.75 for my small twist cone.

Verdict: I am admittedly an ice cream fanatic, and soft serve is generally not the first scoop I’d reach for. However, Dairy Committee ice cream is some of the richest, creamiest soft serve I’ve tasted and earns my stamp of approval. This is definitely one Crawford County Fair food experience you won’t want to miss.

***

Check out our Crawford County Fair Food gallery for more photos, and submit your own at GoCrawfordCounty.com.

Have a favorite fair food? Let me know, so I can try it, too!

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 24th, 2011
My Vlahos veggie gyro.

My Vlahos veggie gyro.

State and County fairs are infamous for their eclectic food offerings. A week’s worth of food for a week at the Crawford County Fair.

What: Greek gyros from Vlahos

Description: An original gyro is a combination of beef and lamb served on soft, warm pita bread. This pita is then loaded with onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, and of course tzataziki, cucumber sauce.

Testimonial: “All I came to the fair for,” said the person just behind me in line at the Vlahos Original Greek Concession stand.

The Vlahos stand is family owned and operated by the Vlahos, a Greek family from North East Ohio. ”He has a following,” said daughter Eleana Vlahos, “He’s like a rock band, he’s got groupies.”

The Vlahos Original Greek Concession stand, complete with groupies.

The Vlahos Original Greek Concession stand, complete with groupies.

People from around the region follow where the stand will set up shop next. However, John, the ‘original’ Vlahos himself, schools people on what they’re really ordering. Signs above the counter phonetically sound out the name, “yee-ros.”

“Can I order an original ‘JI-row’?” a customer asked.

“We don’t have any ‘JI-rows.’ You can order an original gyro,” he said with a smile.

“Whatever it is, I just want an original,” they reply.

That’s right, if you’ve been pronouncing this Mediterranean dish “JI-row,” you’ve wrong. But if you visit John Vlahos, he’ll set you straight. “Yee-ros.”

This vegetarian had a My Big Fat Greek Wedding moment after he was done serving the other customers. I had returned to the stand after enjoying my veggie gyro, and he asked if I’d gotten a gyro yet. After I assured him I’d loved my veggie gyro, he repeated himself. Like they said in the movie, “It’s ok, I make lamb.”

Ever wondered? Here's your answer.

Ever wondered? Here's your answer.

Cost: $5, but John Vlahos served me a piece of mouthwatering baklava and a bottle of water for free.

Verdict: A huge fan of any Mediterranean style cooking, I was impressed that the shop had a veggie offering. And what a handful it was: the pita was heaped with all the goodies–minus the meat, just the way I like it. A filling snack that isn’t covered in grease, a rare Crawford County Fair treat.

***

Check out our Crawford County Fair Food gallery for more photos, and submit your own at GoCrawfordCounty.com.

Have a favorite fair food? Let me know, so I can try it, too!

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 24th, 2011
Country music star Luke Bryan croons to the crowd.

Country music star Luke Bryan croons to the crowd.

“Where my hillbillies at?” called country music star Luke Bryan from the main stage at the Crawford County fairgrounds Tuesday night.

This CMT sensation seemed to have the crowd dancing and laughing along—even before the show started. People were decked to their country nines, wearing cowboy hats and boots, or their own personal creations.

Angela Zorn came dressed in her own custom designed black t-shirt, with Easton Corbin and Luke Bryan’s names on the front and back. A Luke Bryan fan for two years, the 17-year-old from Meadville has had tickets since May, and was celebrating her birthday with her mom.

“Do I,” said Zorn, is her favorite Bryan song, “because it’s the first one I liked.”

Fans of Luke Bryan hold a sign, "Sorority Girls Shake it for Luke."

Fans of Luke Bryan hold a sign, "Sorority Girls Shake it for Luke."

Before the show, Bryan signed autographs and took photos at a meet and greet. Emily Nottingham of Titusville was thrilled to be at the concert—and meet Bryan.

17-year-olds Emily Notthingham and Brianne Come, Titusville, were thrilled to be at Bryan’s concert. Brianne, however, couldn’t meet the signer in person.

“She couldn’t be there because of soccer practice, so I brought two CDs and he signed them both for us,” Emily said, carrying her signed Luke Bryan swag. “It was really nice.”

Before Bryan bounced on stage, country singer Easton Corbin opened the show, playing crowd favorites like “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll with It.” Watch Corbin sing “A Little More Country Than That” in our video player.

7,300 seats sold for the concert, and many lined the front row to sing along while taking pictures and video.

Fans gather for a photo at the Luke Bryan concert.

Fans gather for a photo at the Luke Bryan concert.

Bryan encouraged the audience to sing and dance along during the performance. During the song “Drunk On You,” Bryan instructed the crowd to fist pump while singing the lyrics “boom, boom” of the chorus. See that video in our player.

Bryan’s biggest hit, “Country Girl (Shake It for Me),” didn’t disappoint either, and Bryan encouraged a little battle of the sexes, seeing who could sing the chorus louder. See Bryan shaking his own thing on stage in our video player.

Tomorrow, Bryan heads to Glen Allen, VA, to play the Innsbrook Pavilion. His third and most recent album, “Tailgates & Tanlines,” debuted at number one on Top Country Albums list.

Check the player on GoCrawfordCounty.com for video of Corbin and Bryan, and our photo galleries for shots from the concert. Were you there? Post your pictures directly to our community photo album. Just click “Submit photos” on the right bar of the main page.

 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 24th, 2011
Trying a deep fried Snickers at the Crawford County Fair.

Trying a deep fried Snickers at the Crawford County Fair.

State and County fairs are infamous for their eclectic food offerings. A week’s worth of food for a week at the Crawford County Fair.

What: Deep fried Snickers

Description: Poke a serving stick through a Snickers bar. Dip it in funnel cake batter. Deep fry the candy bar. Cover with a heavy coat of powered sugar so that the consumer looks like a winning Charlie Sheen.

It seems that deep frying anything is the name of the game at America’s State and Country fairs. The most bizarre deep fried subject? The winner goes to the Indiana State Fair, where you can get deep fried butter.

I figured to stick to a healthier route, and tried the Snickers, which I’d seen Paula Dean create on the Food Network. By the end of this fair, I would like to sample more of this deep fried list, that is if I can fit into my pants at the end of this food tour.

Testimonial: ”The Oreos are the most popular so far,” said server Tierra Brewer of Meadville, “but the Snickers are catching on.” This 18-year-old has just recently started working the booth, but she suggests the Oreos.

6 ways to try some deep fried cookin' at the Crawford County Fair.

6 ways to try some deep fried cookin' at the Crawford County Fair.

Cost: $5, but I got mine for $4.

Verdict: With all the hype about deep fried fair food, I was hoping this Fair Food would be a little more rewarding. It wasn’t. The funnel cake batter was soggy, and the center wasn’t all melted, like Paula Dean promised mine would be, if I made deep fried candy bars within the privacy of my own home kitchen. Maybe next time, I’ll follow Paula’s advice. Or maybe, I’ll just try the Oreos. Or the Reese’s. Ooh, Reese’s…

***

Check out our Crawford County Fair Food gallery for more photos, and submit your own at GoCrawfordCounty.com.

Have a favorite fair food? Let me know, so I can try it, too!

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 24th, 2011
Campi's fresh pizzas, sliced and ready to be served.

Campi's fresh pizzas, sliced and ready to be served.

State and County fairs are infamous for the eclectic food offerings. A week’s worth of food for a week at the Crawford County Fair.

What: Campi’s Pizza

Description: Eating a Campi’s slice of pizza is like attacking an inflated Chicago deep dish slice–it’s so big, you don’t know where to start. The shop based in Dunkirk, NY, comes to the Crawford County Fair, because it’s a huge money maker for them.

Campi’s offers slices in Cheese, Cheese and Pepperoni, Veggie, Supreme, and Sausage. A vegetarian, I chose the veggie. This slice was loaded with broccoli, tomato, peppers, and onions, but not so much as to overwhelm the serving. Not that this pizza colossus would ever feel overwhelmed.

Testimonial: “It’s a meal in itself,” says Beth Knoedler of Saegartown.

A Campi’s sever says that Cheese has been the most popular at the Crawford County Fair, but normally at other fairs, the most popular prize goes to Cheese and Pepperoni. Which would you choose?

Cost: $5

Verdict: I would get this Fair Food again, but split the giant serving with a friend. It’s filling and fresh, just the way food ought to be.

***

Check out our Crawford County Fair Food gallery for more photos, and submit your own at GoCrawfordCounty.com.

Have a favorite fair food? Let me know, so I can try it, too!

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 22nd, 2011

Contestants congratulate a stunned Kelly Thayer on her new title.

Contestants congratulate a stunned Kelly Thayer on her new title.

The Miss Crawford County Fair Queen Pageant, now in its third year, crowned Kelly Thayer as it’s newest queen Sunday night at the grandstand stage at the Crawford County Fair.

“Honestly, I thought I didn’t have it,” said Thayer, the newly crowned queen. “I had to do a double take when they called my name.”

Out of eight contestants, Thayer, 20, of Linesville, took the 2011 title. Thayer is a sophomore at DeVry University.

Thayer was awarded a $500 check from BIG Investment Group of Meadville. The Crawford County Fair Queen acts as the fair’s ambassador, visiting at community events and organizations on behalf of the fair.

“I can’t wait to be a representative for the Crawford County Fair. I’ve wanted this for so long,” said Thayer. “I messed up my skit, but I guess no one knew!”

Contestants are judged on a variety of criteria, including pre-pageant interviews, eveningwear, and on-stage questions. The women also perform a skit, as a form of a personal statement about what’s special about the Crawford County Fair and why someone should visit. This year’s contestants dressed up as a range of characters, including a rat, a tour guide, Dorothy from the Wizard of OZ, and Maria from the Sound of Music complete with a musical statement. Thayer portrayed a farmer’s wife, in a plaid dress and apron.

Katie Steider, departing Queen, takes her final walk.

Katie Steider, departing Queen, takes her final walk.

The pageant also hosted over thirty visiting pageant royalty from around the region. Any and all titleholders were invited to attend.

It was an emotional night for departing Queen Katie Steider, who even choked up a little on stage during her final walk.

“It’s been even better than I ever could have imagined,” said Steider, who said that ending her reign is bitter sweet.

She said her favorite memories included getting to read to regional elementary school students, and then having them greet her on the street.

“A little boy came up to me at a parade, and said, ‘Remember me? I’m from Mrs. Egan’s class,’” said Steider. “People really do look to you as a role model.”

She said she’s so thankful for the experience, but offers some advice to the next queen.

“To be as open minded as possible and meet as many people as you can,” said Steider. “We really have a lot of great people in Crawford.”

In addition to the title of queen, the pageant also recognizes the young women with several other awards. Jenny Washok won Miss Congeniality. Ashley Jackson took two, the Essay Contest (“What the Crawford County Fair means to my community”), and the Advertising Competition. The Community Choice Award went to Rebecca Hyde. The Interview Award went to Brianna Gallagher.

Check out photos from the pageant in our photo gallery. Were you there? Add your photo to our community photo album on GoCrawfordCounty.com.

Keep following Community Connection and GoCrawfordCounty.com to get constant coverage all week long of the Crawford County Fair.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 21st, 2011

Lady Antebellum headlined the Crawford County Fair Saturday night, with the group Stealing Angels opening. Watch the video below for a clip of Lady A performing “Our Kind of Love.”

Check the Lady Antebellum photo gallery for more from the Lady A concert.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 20th, 2011

Lady Antebellum headlined the Crawford County Fair Saturday night, with the group Stealing Angels opening. Watch the video below for a clip of Lady A performing “Friday Night.”

Check the Lady Antebellum photo gallery for more from the Lady A concert.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 20th, 2011
Team Smoking Dragon, striking very intimidating ninja poses.

Team Smoking Dragon, striking very intimidating ninja poses.

One was wearing a Darth Vader helmet. Others ninja costumes. All this to match their outfit to their boat. Cardboard boat that is.

32 boats raced in 16 heats at the Bayfront Maritime Center’s Second Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta Saturday afternoon, as part of 2011′s Celebrate Erie. People lined the BMC’s lake side and onto the deck of the Erie Maritime Center to cheer on their teams and their elaborate cardboard creations. It felt more like a family festival, the more crazy your costume and boat the better, than a cut-throat race.

Team Smoking Dragon, clearly dressed to intimidate in white home-made ninja costumes, crewed a craft that actually blew bubbles at the bow. Another craft named their boat “Charlie Sheen AKA Winning.”

The first regatta was held at the Tall Ships Erie festival, and was a major success with visitors and the crowd. Many of last year’s crews had so much fun they decided to roll up their sleeves and try again this year. The Lake Erie Piranha, a wobbly yet 2010 fan-favorite, returned for another try.

“We started this at 10 last night and finished around 2,” said Sam Rigotti of the Piranha’s Revenge, the Lake Erie Piranha reincarnation.

Although enthusiastic, their last-minute efforts proved unsuccessful, and the crew capsized before making it to the buoy. The last man paddling in the boat saluted as he sank, “Don’t give up the ship!”

Before their untimely demise, the crew raced The New Hope, a Star Wars-themed craft that entered the area to the Darth Vader theme. Both boats pelted water balloons at each other, which you can watch in the video below.

Bob Allshouse, a Director on the Board of the BMC, said they hope to make this a popular, reoccurring event.

“We hope to expand, bring more people down to the water front, make more people aware of what the bayfront has to offer,” he said. “The center helps children at risk, and helps them learn life skills.”

Team Commodore Perry The Paddlepus, with Nicole Lichtenger and Haley Martucci.

Team Commodore Perry The Paddlepus, with Nicole Lichtenger and Haley Martucci.

With the BMC, kids’ groups engage in hands-on boat building projects, like the cardboard boat regatta. This year, the Housing Authority of the City of Erie sponsored two boats for area kids’ groups, the JFK Center and the YMCA, to build boats for the race. See the JFK’s Hope and the YMCA’s Watermellon in our pre-race preparations gallery.

Commodore Perry The Paddlepus had a cheerleading team of friends of and family, dressed to match their Perry the Platypus character themed cardboard creation. 8-year-olds Nicole Lichtenger and Haley Martucci crewed the vessel.

Rich Eisenberg, Executive Director of the BMC, says he’s optimistic the event will grow.

“Who doesn’t have access to cardboard? It’s a great team building activity, great way to share Erie’s greatest asset, the bayfront. It’s easy.”

Following the enthusiasm from today’s regatta, the future looks promising for a Third Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta.

Follow @GoErieEvents on twitter to get find more video and photos from the regatta. Find pictures from the pre-race parade, the regatta, and pre-race preparations in our photo galleries.

 

 

Posted in: Celebrate Erie
Posted: August 19th, 2011

Erica Streett is Diana Ross. Or at least she gets to play her on stage.

“I love getting to act extra sexy and see the reaction of the audience singing along to every word,” said Streett, who loves getting to step into the shoes of the iconic Motown diva.

Streett, from Virginia Beach, said she’s gotten to travel across country, and even around the world, playing gigs as far as Ethiopia with Masters of Motown.

Listen to what the lovely ladies of the Masters of Motown have to say minutes before they take the stage at Celebrate Erie.

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