What is the key to fresh-squeezed lemonade at the Anne Arundel County Fair? Is it the fresh lemons, cane sugar, artificial lemonade powder, lemon juice, water or ice?
For fairgoer Lynn Whitall, “You have to have the right balance of sweet and sour,” she said while sitting with her husband James Whitall on a bench at the fair Thursday, sipping on some fresh lemonades.
The over 40-year residents of Crownsville were visiting the annual fair for the first time Thursday, the second day of the fair which runs through Sunday. They enjoyed being able to get out of the house after staying home a lot because of the coronavirus pandemic, which canceled the fair last year.
James said lemonade just felt like the right choice and Lynn added there aren’t many other options at the fair. Lynn ordered a mango lemonade and James got a regular lemonade.
“It is so traditional and good,” Lynn said.
James said the lemonade had plenty of lemons and it wasn’t watery; he compared it to what his wife makes at home.
Sakchai Rimpisiri, the owner of Chalee Food Fair where the Whitalls got their drinks said, lemonade is an important fair commodity because everyone is thirsty. He said the secret to having the best lemonade is adding no sugar. He’s had a booth at the fair for more than 25 years and also sells teriyaki chicken, bbq chicken, lo-mein, fried rice and egg rolls. They also have strawberry, mango and pineapple lemonades.
Kelli Petty, the owner of Fun Stuff 4 kids, believes the key to lemonade is fresh lemons. Petty has had a booth at the fair for four years and they only use lemons, no powder. At the booth, they also sell tea, popcorn, cotton candy, hot dogs and snow cones.
“We have the right amount of lemon, sugar and water,” Petty said. “It is just such a staple at fairs. It is not the same taste as the ones you buy at stores. People be looking for the southern tasting lemonade.”
Steve Hohman thinks the colder the water, the better lemonade. Hohman said his secret is using larger lemons and adding an orange. His booth, Hohman’s Concession, has been at the fair for 15 years.
Hohman said his lemonade is kid-tested and approved. “You can tell when they take a sip and they don’t come up from the straw, like ‘you got to come up for air,’” he laughed.
Hohman noticed on Thursday that there was a large crowd in the morning since the fair opened at 10 a.m.
“People this year want to be outside more than ever,” Hohman said. “I just love seeing everyone out and about again.”
John Faber, first year as fair president, said he has big shoes to fill with the previous president John Kozenski, passing away last year. Faber is looking forward to good weather for the rest of the week for the fair.
“I enjoy everything with the fair and especially the food, the food is always fabulous,” Faber said.
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He said lemonade is just a summertime drink that is so refreshing and that is what the fair is about, summertime entertainment.
Jane Mackall was purchasing lemonade and said it is the perfect combination for a hot day.
“Lemonade is tart and it helps cool you down. Just the right amount of lemon and sugar makes the best lemonade to me,” she said. “I like lemonade at any time, so it works for me.”
Phillip Wolfe, Manager of Bubbles Productions, said using fresh spring water helps make good lemonade with real cane sugar. Wolfe uses fresh lemons and lemon juice in his lemonade.
“Lemonade is an American staple and having a good time, you think to partner that with lemonade,” he said.