STONEBORO – The Great Stoneboro Fair is canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but folks can still plan on getting some fair-style dining.

The Lakeview Area Labor Day Weekend Drive Thru will be held this weekend at the Stoneboro Fairgrounds, 2381 Mercer Road, Stoneboro. Hours will be 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

When the fair board decided in early July to cancel the fair, organizers Scott Black and Stoneboro Volunteer fire Chief Rick Reither still wanted to give patrons something to enjoy.

“People still want to go out and get fair food,” Black said.

Thanks to the drive-thru, they’ll get their chance.

Fair officials approved the event, which will give nonprofits a chance to raise some of the money that they would normally collect by selling food at the fair. The fair is always held over Labor Day weekend and is typically the biggest fundraiser of the year for local nonprofits, Black said.

The drive-thru will have 10 vendors set up on the fairgrounds. Some of the vendors represent nonprofits, while others will be run by businesses sharing the proceeds with a local nonprofit.

The selection includes new items like barbecue dinners and old favorites like the fire department’s french fries and hot sausage sandwiches.

The nonprofit organizations will also accept donations, Black said.

And the drive-thru will have one thing the fair doesn’t — free admission. Vehicles can enter at the main gate on Mercer Road (U.S. Route 62), and guests will receive a map with a list of vendors’ locations and menu items.

The event will comply with social distancing requirements, with guests remaining in their vehicles stopping only to buy food.

Servers will take orders then bring food back to the vehicles. The entire event is cash-only for payment and, while patrons can park and eat inside their vehicles, there will not be any dining areas at the fairgrounds.

Organizers will set up portable restrooms and hand-washing stations for servers and vendors.

Servers will wear face coverings, but patrons do not have to.

There’s been good feedback so far, and people are excited to visit the fairgrounds, Reither said.

“They’re so anxious to at least be able to get some fair food,” said Shirley McIntire, assistant to the fair board president.

Those who turn out could get a taste of the Great Stoneboro Fair, aside from the food. Harness racing, a traditional attraction at the event, will return 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

The drive-thru, just like the fair itself, closes out with a fireworks show at dusk Sunday. The display is sponsored by local businesses and individuals that have previously supported the fair, including Mercer County State Bank, Hick’s Auto Service, Lakeview Fertilizer, J&J Sauer Southern Auto Parts, and Anchors Away.

Black and Reither thanked those who are supporting the food event: the fair board, Mercer County Fire Police Association, Lynchwoods Spirits for making signs, Keeling Design and Media for making the maps and vendor list, Ben Bissett Chevrolet of Mercer for donating to the fire departments, Bell’s Portable Rest­rooms, and Black’s family – his wife Lisa, daughter Sarah Black, and grandson Aidan Black.

For more information about the fair food event, visit “Lakeview Area Labor Day Weekend Drive Thru” on Facebook.

FAIR FOOD FARE

These organizations will participate in the Lakeview Area Labor Day Weekend Drive Thru food vendor gathering from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4 and noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 5 and 6.

• Stoneboro Volunteer Fire Company – french fries.

• Lakeview Area Public Library – partnered with Fowler’s Taffy, which is selling cotton candy, taffy, and caramel and candy apples.

• Lakeview School District track and field, band and boys’ basketball – partnered with Taste Great Concessions and The Waffle Guy, and selling hot waffle ice cream sandwiches, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, steak hoagies, gyros, chicken tenders, cheesecake on a stick, corn dogs, fresh brewed iced tea and lemonade.

• Lakeview Girl Scout troops 36559 and 36411 – partnered with Smoky Martins BBQ and selling pulled pork sandwiches, brisket sandwiches, half-rack of ribs and loaded baked potatoes.

• Sandy Lake Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company – hot sausage sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs.

• Lakeview High School varsity football boosters – partnered with Fat Eddy’s Bar-BQ and selling smoked chicken wings, chips and dip, pulled pork nachos and macaroni and cheese.

• Lakeview High School girls’ basketball – partnered with Jane’s Stromboli.

• Lakeview High School cross country – partnered with Ma and Pa Kettle Corn and selling kettle corn, lemon slammers and shaved ice.

• Mercer County Dairy Princess – hand-dipped ice cream and chocolate milk.

• Vincent United Methodist Church – peach and apple dumplings with ice cream.

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