The Buckeye Valley food booth is a favorite at the Delaware County Fair for many reasons, and not just because it’s the only place to sit down and eat.
Chris Lydy, one of the managers of the booth, said the establishment has been around longer than anyone can remember and said his father used to run it back when it was just a tent in the 1960s.
Lydy said all of the money made at the booth is split between the Buckeye Valley Athletic Boosters and Buckeye Valley Music Boosters. Lydy said that the booth is staffed entirely by volunteers, including Buckeye Valley students and staff.
“The whole Buckeye Valley Community comes out and makes it happen,” Lydy said.
For many, eating at the booth during fair week has become a tradition, including local police.
“When I used to work the midnight shift, I used to go to the booth during fair week at 2 or 3 in the morning because they were one of the only places that was open,” said Delaware Police Capt. Adam Moore.
John McDavid, a frequent fair attendee and manager of other Ohio fairs, said the booth is a favorite of his when he is visiting the Delaware County Fair, which he has done for decades.
“I think they do a great job,” McDavid said. “It’s great to see all the students helping. That’s what the fair is all about.”
“I’ve been coming here since I was a kid,” said Marv McIntire, an organizer of some of the races at the fair. “I’ve eaten here for so many years.”
One of those students, 16-year-old Madi Shearer, said she loves working at the booth because of the sense of community.
“Everyone is so nice,” Shearer, a third-year veteran of the booth, said. “They don’t act rude and everyone has a story to tell about the fair.”
“I remember it being my first and last job in food service, as I quickly discovered I wasn’t cut out for that line of work,” said Lee Yoakum, head of community and media affairs for the city of Delaware. “I didn’t take or fill food orders very well and couldn’t make change. Still, it was a blast to work there and all the parent and teacher volunteers were very patient with us kids.”
“What was clear then, even to us students, and is still the case today, is the way Baron Nation comes together for this effort,” Yoakum said.
Lydy said the booth has raised up to $20,000 in previous years and hopes to raise a similar amount this year.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG