The Stevens County 4-H Food Stand will be open during the Stevens County Fair but there will be changes. Covid guidelines are causing some safety regulations that are primarily geared toward protecting the children who work in the building.
The 4-H stand is regulated under guidelines from the Minnesota Extension Service and Minnesota Department of Health. In a statement from Kirstin Koch, 4-H Extension Educator she explained the basis behind the changes.
“We’re committed to bringing youth, families and volunteers together safely,” Koch stated. “4-H protocol is based on the most current Minnesota Department of Health and University of Minnesota guidelines.”
So what does that mean for the food stand this year. Food stand manager Vicky Dosdall explained some of the changes people could see.
The first thing you might notice is that you will not be able to sit down and have a 4-Her wait on you. Instead there will be three walk up areas, two inside the building and a window service on the side. Customers will walk up, place their order and then take it to a table to enjoy. There will be some tables inside for senior citizens and handicapped but also several picnic tables outdoors. 4-Hers will be able to clean up the seating areas after use.
The second big change will be the menu. There will be no hamburgers or homemade soup at the 4-H stand this year. This is mainly due to guidelines that people should not stand in line or wait to fill orders. When cooking the hamburgers, people work close together at the grill area. The guidelines also stated they wanted to see less people working in the food stand. All menu items will be premade and quickly filled, not requiring the 4-Hers to wait. For those who are hungry for the homemade soup, Dosdall stated that it will be available in September during Prairie Pioneer days.
Other items on the menu will include Barbequed pulled pork, sloppy joes, loaded baked potatoes, walking tacos, cole slaw, root beer floats and the ever popular, pie and ice cream. With this menu, Dosdall said the orders should be able to turn over fast. She added that the hot soup is also a safety hazard for people carrying their own trays.
“As the manager I have had to do a lot of thinking on this,” Dosdall explained. “We want the 4-Hers and customers to still have a good experience while keeping them safe. People need to remember that the 4-H age child is not vaccinated like many adults.”
The 4-H system asks their regular customers to continue to support the food stand this year. It is one of only three fundraisers for the program. The other two are the livestock auction and horticulture night. The funds raised at these three events are used for things like camps, workshops and programs for the 4-Hers.
Her hope is that the 4-Hers and the public can continue to make this a great experience for everyone. Many of the young 4-Hers look forward to serving the public but this year it will be in a slightly different way. A way that will keep them safe while still enjoying a wonderful Stevens County Fair tradition.