Batter up! It’s fry time in Fruita

We’re all going to die someday, we just don’t know when or how. But I do. It will be during the Fruita Fall Festival, when a mass of cholesterol from one of the 714 fried food vendors clogs up and hardens, blocking the flow of blood to my internal organs like an arterial version of the Hoover Dam.
I spent a lot time at the festival last Saturday night, listening to bluegrass, using a Porta-Potty and eating corn dogs. Sometimes all at the same time.

That’s what you do at these festivals — you consume grease in large quantities. This year’s event was sponsored by the Mesa County Association of Cardiologists, who encourage all attendees to “Have fun, and eat up! Get seconds!”

Marie and I did our part. We spent a lot of time strolling past all the various food vendors, carefully scouting out our culinary options. I won’t break down menu lists for you, but safe to say that cheese curds are still in. As are fry bread and those salty fried twisty tater things that come piled high in 2-foot tall portions, and which are directly responsible for killing more Americans than Ted Kennedy and O.J. Simpson combined. I’m not saying these foods are bad for you, but the cashier does make you sign a liability waiver if buy more than three.

Marie is not very hungry, so she settles on, (true story), a 2-pound turkey leg. Watching your wife walk the streets of Fruita while gnawing on a chunk of bird the size of a terrier will either fill you with pride or embarrassment. I’m publicly undecided.

After several bites, she no longer needs the assistance of three men to help her carry it, so she’s able to follow me to another booth. I ask the 50-something cashier if they happen to fry their food with a safer, healthier vegetable oil. Once the laughter subsides, she says no, but don’t worry, because they have a defibrillator in the back, just in case you go into cardiac arrest midway through your funnel cake.

She must have noticed the frightened look on my face, because she made sure to inform me that Chuck, the fry cook, is “real good with the paddles,” and that restoring normal rhythm to the heart is a completely free service they offer. Just so long as you have your receipt.

Still, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression of these festivals. Fried meats and greasy carbs are perfectly acceptable if consumed in moderation. And you can trust my medical advice because I watch “Grey’s Anatomy.” Besides, it’s a proven fact that the human body needs a certain amount of grease and cholesterol, otherwise it will go on to continue functioning very efficiently.

Nevertheless, there are some nutritionally sound meals available for all you health nuts. I saw a couple of vendors selling tofu. It was fried tofu, but still.

Then there’s the guy selling “Cheesy Bacon Fries.” No matter how many ways you rearrange those three words, it never comes out sounding good. I feel my cholesterol level rising 20 points just walking by the booth.

It’s next to the man selling “Cajun Frog Legs.” He tells me they’re the best frog legs in Colorado. I take his word for it. That’s because I’m on my way to get a Navajo Taco, which is prepared the exact same way the Navajo’s Native American ancestors used to prepare them while settling the Southwest around 1,000 A.D. Only they didn’t use Pace Picante Sauce.

A little past dark, it’s time to say a gluttonous goodbye to the Fruita Fall Festival. But not before a final stop at the dessert trailer, where I’m told the fried Twinkies are sold out. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get to try this unique treat, but on the bright side, I probably extended my life expectancy a few more months.

All in all, it was another fun festival. And, assuming my arteries aren’t completely hardened, I’ll be here next year. I have to.

Somebody has to help Marie carry the turkey leg.

E-mail Steve Beauregard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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