Alameda County Fair celebrates its 100th year


The fair is certainly about all the rides, the excitement, and the exhibits, but it's also about food.

You take a foot long dog, hand wrap it in batter, fry it, and come up with the classic corn dog. You can get a monster dog for $7. The curly fries come in a brick and it requires technique to get a taste.

There's also some serious cooking going on at the fair though. It is the 10th Annual Amateur Barbeque and Chicken Cook-Off and the local chefs mean business. They've dressed up the meats with rubs and sauces, aiming to win the championship on Saturday.

Jim Bennet and Dion Hawk, both of Livermore, have taken top prize before. "Everybody's rub and sauce is good but really, the cooking technique. You could use almost any rub and sauce as long as you have the right cooking technique to come up with a good product," Bennet says. "There is nothing more Americana than barbecuing on the Fourth of July. It's a fabulous thing," Hawk says.

And then, there is over-the-top: the fourth edition of the hot dog eating con test. Teams are timed to see how many they can chew in a short time.

Raul Escovdeo and Joey Norwood, both of Livermore, did 31 each. "You've got to make sure you have just a little bit of water since they're kind of dry. You have to make sure you have just a good touch of water. Let it slide down," Escovedo said. "It makes it easier, softer to swallow. So, just got to go non-stop. Can't think about throwing up. Keep eating," Norwood said.

Those are words to live by.

You can also find deep-fried Fruity Pebbles, deep-fried Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, deep-fried oatmeal cream pies, and perhaps the most popular item at the fair, deep-fried Ding Dongs.

The Alameda County Fair continues through Sunday.

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