WARSAW — Call it a double whammy.
People who love fair food — the Italian sausages, the blooming onions, the deep-fried Oreos — are surveying the prospect of a summer without. And the county fairs and firemen’s carnivals are also important fundraisers for area first responders.
That’s why two area restaurants have stepped up to help in Wyoming County. They’ll be serving up fair foods, while donating a portion of the proceeds to their local fire departments.
The Grateful Grill announced awhile back that it will be serving fair food during what would traditionally be Wyoming County Fair week in August. Proceeds will support the Gainesville and Warsaw fire departments.
And Laurie’s Restaurant in Warsaw will be serving fair foods next week during what would normally be the Warsaw Firemen’s Carnival. A portion of its proceeds will support the Warsaw Fire Department.
The efforts are separate but share the same goal.
“One of our favorite pastimes in the summer is to go out sometimes as a family and eat the fair foods and run into people you haven’t seen in awhile,” said Courtney Conte of the Grateful Grill. “A lot of people will be deprived of that his year, so we wanted to offer something nobody else was doing, and offer it to people who were missing out on it, as well as ourselves.”
Both restaurants have a significant connection with their local firefighters and EMTs. The latter are often friends, family and customers who stop by their places — usually volunteers who donate their time to save lives and property.
The Laurie’s “No Carnival, No Problem” effort will take place June 29 to July 4.
“I thought a lot of people would want the food — I know I do,” said owner Robyn Casseri. “And the fact that (the fire department) isn’t making any money so ...”
As of last Thursday, the Laurie’s post on Facebook had garnered about 38,000 hits on Facebook so she’s already planning.
“That kind of scared me, so I decided to do different days for different meals,” she said. “Like the Italian sausage, and the hot dogs, hamburgers.”
The foods will also include steamed clams, funnel cakes, loaded waffle fries and more.
“I actually called a gentleman named Don Mack who does sugar waffles and kettle corn,” Casseri said. “So he’s going to do that for me wholesale. I called Fowler’s Taffy and they’re going to (provide food). I bought wholesale from them so we’re going to have those items.”
Glosser’s Soft Serve of Orangeville will provide cotton candy and possibly more.
“Most of the candy, the sugar waffles, the taffy, the funnel cakes, corn dogs, the loaded waffle fries, we can do those every day,” Casseri said. “And the fried Oreos.”
The great thing is the Grateful Grill in Rock Glen is doing its own effort in August, she said. And the Warsaw Firemen’s Carnival is itself still scheduled — postponed until September, instead of its traditional Independence Day celebration.
The Grateful Grill’s Food Fair will take place Aug. 15 to 22, Conte said. People will be able to order a chicken barbecue before Aug. 8 with curbside service available.
They’ll also be offering funnel cake, fried pickles, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, deep fried Oreos, taffy, cotton candy, fried onion petals and more throughout the week.
“We often have an event for the fire department every summer,” Conte said. “Last week was our ‘Band in the Sand.’ We really love being part of our community, and supporting the community, and having fun while doing it ... We’re big fans of a lot of (the firefighters and rescue personnel.) They do a lot for the communities. They don’t get paid to do it and they don’t have to do it, so why not give back to them?”