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It would be wise for attendees of this year’s Platte County Fair to show up with big appetites.

The Platte County Fairgrounds transform yearly into a place filled with 4-H activity, music and carnival rides, but the great eats are always one of the major pluses, said Marsha Foster, co-owner of Spiral Spuds food trailer that is making its return to the fair after a seven-year absence.

She and her husband, George, operate Spiral Spuds and a funnel cake trailer at approximately 12 events during the summer months. For years, the couple’s Spiral Spuds trailer, which turns normal spuds into spirally, ribbon-shaped mounds of fried goodness, was a mainstay at the Platte County Fair. But, some health-related concerns led the Lincoln couple to only operate their funnel cake and lemonade operation in 2010.

“It just became too much for us. Our kids were grown and married and we didn’t have the built-in help anymore. It was just too difficult, so we stopped bringing it,” Marsha said. “And every year we still have people saying, ‘aw, Spiral Spuds aren’t here?’ So I think people are going to be happy to have us back.”

This year proved to be a viable option in regard to getting Spiral Spuds back up and running at full steam with Marsha and George’s daughter and son-in-law, Erin and Clint Heiden, taking over the business in weeks to come.

It also just seemed like the right time to get back to the Platte County Fair, she said.

Each serving of fried spuds consists of two ribbon-cut potatoes fried for a minute-and-a-half until golden brown, piled on a plate and then doctored to the liking of each customer. The return of the stand brings back a fan favorite, with some new topping options.

“When I had it here last in 2010 I think we were only offering cheese and chili for the toppings,” Marsha said. “We have since expanded to cheese, chili, ranch, bacon and sour cream. And then we have what’s called 'the works,' which has everything on it, and that has become very popular."

Each full order is $6, and Marsha estimated she and her husband will go through approximately 1,000 pounds of potatoes through the fair’s remaining days before wrapping up Sunday.

She said she hopes customers are as excited to see her product return as she is to see them.

“It makes us feel really good that we do have people come up and tell us how much they like our product,” she said.

In addition to the Fosters’ food trailers, seven food vendors line a stretch of road in the Ag Park area, including: the Lakeview FFA Alumni and Supporters booth, offering brisket, pork, beef and ice cream treats; Ol’ Country Kettle Corn, ZeeKey’s Pork in a Boat, Taqueria Vallarta, The Kitchen Window, Judy’s Concessions and Fusion Bar-B-Que Concessions.

Ol’ Country Kettle Corn, based out of Grand Island, offers homemade kettle corn and pork rinds, and ZeeKey’s Pork in a Boat offers an assortment of pork-fueled creations.

Platte Center resident Jeremy Janssen enjoyed on Thursday afternoon a pile of pork nachos topped with barbecue sauce.

“I’ve just been going around looking for those meaty nachos, ya know?” he said, with a smile.

Taqueria Vallarta offers a wide variety of authentic Mexican food, while The Kitchen Window focuses its attention on limeade, lemonade, turkey legs and steak-on-a-stick and Fusion Bar-B-Que has a general mix of barbecue favorites.

Jeff Garbers and his wife, Cindy, have been attending Platte County Fair with their trailer, Judy’s Concessions, for six years. The couple offers the normal American snacking favorites such as burgers and fries, but this year, they are heating up the kitchen with a new creation that fair attendees have the opportunity to name if the owners like the way it sounds.

The creation: a sandwich stacked with two chicken strips, nacho cheese, bacon and secret “Judy” sauce.

“If we pick their name, they get to eat it for free,” Jeff said.

The Garbers said they never regret attending the Platte County Fair because it has so much to offer.

“We just always have a blast out here, it’s a lot of fun,” Jeff said.

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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