FEEDING THE CROWD: Vicki and Jim Simons (at right) join their food stand staff in front of the kitchen counter for a photo opportunity Saturday morning. The Wahoo couple has been running the food stand in the 4-H building for the fair for at least the past six years. (Staff Photo by Lisa Brichacek)

WAHOO – The county fair is over, but that doesn’t mean its affects aren’t still being felt.

“It will take me two weeks to recuperate, physically,” Jim Simons said.

Simons and his wife, Vicki, run the food stand in the 4-H building during the fair. They have been doing it for at least the past six years and said they have really good staff in the food stand.

Still, it’s a big job – before, during and after the fair.

“It’s kind of fun, but it’s an incredible amount of work,” Vicki said.

Jim said planning for the food stand starts a month or more before the fair gets underway. There are menus to plan, food to order and workers to line up.

Many of the menu items carry over from year to year so that does help the planning, but he said it still requires preparation.

“The first year we had a few bumps and bruises,” he said. “But, it’s smoother now.”

During the first few years, the Saunders County Agricultural Society asked for specific items on the menu.

Vicki said the group wanted to make sure there were healthy foods and snacks, such as fruit. With those as now staples on the menu, the Wahoo couple has free reign to plan what is served each year.

Jim said there really wasn’t one single food item that was his biggest seller. He has a variety on the menu and what sells depends on the time of day.

“We go from biscuits and gravy and Valentino’s breakfast pizza in the morning to pie alamode at night,” he said.

In between those times, there were burgers, brats, corn on the cob, chips, taco salads, homemade cookies and plenty of other favorites for a hungry fair crowd.

Jim has figured out over the years though that the day can dictate what will be in demand.

For example, he knows that he has to have plenty

of coffee on hand on Friday of fair week. That’s 4-H beef show day and he said that crowd is coffee drinkers.

No matter what food he is serving, he said he likes to get his food from local sources. This year, all of his meat products and some of his sides came from Wahoo Locker.

His help comes from local sources too.

Vicki said they have had some youth that have worked with them over the years.

“One of the best things of this is working with all of the kids,” she said.

They have a few who have been with them since the start, while others come and go depending on work and college schedules.

“Every year, there are two

or three new ones,” she added.

The Simons’ family helps out in the stand as well. Their kids have worked the front line and Vicki’s parents help make the cookies.

But no matter who they have helping serve the customers, they want to make sure it’s done with a smile and a kind word.

Jim takes pride in hearing that he has a friendly food stand. He said it is important to give the customers a good experience.

That fair experience wrapped up on Sunday for the customers. So, Jim and Vicki will now take a little time to unpack from the fair, take final inventory for next year and, of course, recuperate.

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