Local News

Tuesday, Sep 21 2010 06:52 PM

Ten Pound Bun to challenge fried favorites as county fair kicks off

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    A team of workers gets ready to unload and set up the Jumping Jumbos ride equipment Tuesday, in preparation for Wednesday's grand opening of the ever popular Kern County Fair.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Workers at the Kern County Fair put some last minute work in on the carousel, Tuesday, a day before the annual event takes place in Bakersfield.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Workers set up a kids ride, Jumping Jumbos, Tuesday, at the Kern County Fairgrounds in preparation for Wednesday's grand opening.

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BY JEFF GOODMAN, Californian staff writer jgoodman@bakersfield.com

There's a new concession in the midst of "Food Alley" at this year's Kern County Fair, and organizers are hoping it can pull its advertised weight in sales.

Behold the Ten Pound Bun.

Related Info

OPENING DAY AT KERN COUNTY FAIR

When: Wednesday, 3 to 10 p.m.

Where: Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 S. P St., Bakersfield

Cost: $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 6-12, free for children 5 and under

 

WEDNESDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

* Free admission for all from 3 to 5 p.m.

* Parade scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

* Pulford Apple Pie Contest (call 833-4914 for more information)

* Concert: Morris Day and the Time at 8 p.m. in the Budweiser Pavilion

 

WHAT'S NEW?

* Turbo Force, a 130-foot-tall carnival ride

* Ten Pound Buns, a pizza-like concession in "Food Alley"

Served by Trafton Company, this non-fried creation is a thick slice of sourdough bread slathered with butter and garlic, topped with mozzarella and cheddar cheeses and cooked to order in a toaster oven.

Starting at about $6, the Ten Pound Bun -- which gets its name from the heavy loaf of bread used in the recipe -- also has room for various toppings such as pepperoni, chicken, red onions, jalapenos, tomatoes and cilantro.

"I'm not sure how it was invented," says Tony Trafton, owner of the Murrieta, Calif.-based company that purchased Ten Pound Buns five years ago. "It just kind of evolved."

Fair attendees will have a chance to try this pizza-like dish -- and dozens of other edible treats -- when the 85th annual fair opens at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Regulars will likely recognize many of the food items available at the fair, from corn dogs and barbecue chicken to funnel cakes and candy apples.

The average person spends approximately $20 on food, fair supervisor Jeannie Burton said, and a typical family might spend $75 to $120 on meals, snacks and drinks depending on how long it stays at the fairgrounds.

Healthier eating options among the 55 total vendors include salads, veggie burgers and fruit smoothies, Burton said, adding that the fair's push several years ago for health-conscious alternatives was largely unsuccessful.

"There are no calories in fair food," she joked.

One of the fair's first food-based events Wednesday evening is the Pulford Apple Pie Contest, which was still accepting submissions as of Tuesday.

Organizers have also planned contests for sugar-free desserts, cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream and potato salad.

The fair is open until 10 p.m. the first night and runs through Oct. 3.

When a concession space became available leading up to this year's fair, Burton said, she looked to fill it with a vendor who offered a unique alternative to the usual fair staples.

"I wanted to find something different," Burton said Tuesday following a media tour of the fairgrounds. "I said, 'What's a Ten Pound Bun?'"

Trafton, who has also operated food stands at fairs in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, recalls running a coffee stand at the Kern County Fair nearly 20 years ago. Since then, scheduling conflicts have prevented him from coming back -- until now.

When his seven children are not in school, they are often the ones operating the stand, whose "Sourdough" sign is meant to eliminate confusion regarding the nature of his product.

"Everybody thought Ten Pound Bun was a cinnamon roll," Trafton said.

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