By Cara Pattison
EL RENO – For those who have a county fair love-affair, the Canadian County Free Fair Board is now seeking vendors and food trucks to be a part of their 2023 annual fair.
Held the fourth full week of August at the Canadian County Fairgrounds and Expo Center, 3001 Jensen Road East, the annual free fair brings a carnival, shopping, food trucks, concerts, livestock show, competitions, and more.
To make this the best fair in county history, the fair board is making plans now to kick things up a notch or two by bringing in more vendors, Board Member Ken Carpenter said.
“Twelve years ago, when I started serving on the Canadian County Free Fair Board, our team’s goal was to build a new fairground,” Carpenter said. “Since the new facility has opened, we’ve watched our county fair grow from 2,000-4,000 attendees to over 15,000 people over a four-day period. It’s pretty amazing.”
The fair board gauges their attendance and sales success based upon numbers from their carnival partner, Great Plains Amusement in Rush Springs, Canadian County Fair Board Secretary Brad Tipton said.
“At the old fairgrounds, Great Plains Amusement carnival owner Joe Lujan reported sales to be $40,000 to $50,000,” Tipton said. “In 2022, he tallied around $100,000-plus. Joe said that sales usually decline after a new fairgrounds opens – but not in Canadian County! He’s been very impressed.”
Last year, Canadian County Fair Board members welcomed vendor booths and food trucks to the annual event in the new facility.
This year, they plan on welcoming even more vendors to sell both inside and outside the Expo Center.
They will also allow vendors to set-up shop in the livestock arena area.
“In 2022, the food trucks couldn’t keep enough products on-hand because sales were hot,” Carpenter added. “They sold out every night and made lots of money. Our vendors reported that they all sold products and made sales from being there. It was a win-win situation for Canadian County.”
Due to popularity, the Fair Board has decided to have 32 vendor booths available inside the Expo Center this year, which is more than last year.
“Vendor fees charged this year will include pipe and drape between booths if back-to-back,” Tipton said. “We are wanting to dress it up and give our vendor area a ‘state fair’ atmosphere.
“The Expo Center is air-conditioned, comfortable, and people spend a lot of time in there. It’s right next to the 4-H, HCE (Home and Community Education) and open class exhibits.”
Cost for food truck vendors to set-up is $250 for the duration of the fair.
For owners who don’t bring their own generator, the cost is an extra $50 for a 120 amp plug and $100 for a 50 amp plug.
Indoor booth rental is $200 for a 10×10 space, plus an extra $25 for electricity if needed.
“The food truck and vendor fees cover all four days of the fair,” Tipton added. “We charge the same as other area county fairs and work hard to keep the price competitive.”
Vendors and food trucks can sell their products Aug. 23-26. These dates run in conjunction with the fair carnival.
Paid indoor vendors already committed to this year’s fair will be selling such products as jewelry, candles, salsa, dips, rubs, spices, sauces, food mixes, wood carvings, apparel, tumblers, knives, gloves, flashlights, door hangers, T-shirts, cakes, face painting, and windows.
Companies and organizations returning as Canadian County Free Fair vendors include:
Parallel Ag, Canadian County Cattleman’s Association, T-Mobile Wireless, Renewal by Anderson Windows, Tractor Supply, Banner Coop with Purina Feeds, USDA Wildlife Control, CSL Plasma, Canadian County Farm Bureau, Ken Carpenter Auctions, McNeff Ranch, and Sparkles 405 Boutique.
Also, OK Stock Apparel, M&M Custom Creations, Simply Salsa and Easy Mixes, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Fancy Faces Face Painting, Health Markets, Tailored Remodeling, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Car Mart Auto Auction, and the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office.
A few sponsors that will be featured outdoors on the plaza in front of the Expo Center are Dorsey-Jones Buick GMC, P&K Equipment and Lingo Construction.
Seven food trucks have already signed-up to sell such foods as snow cones, catfish, smoked chicken wings, fried onion burgers, cinnamon rolls, barbecue, slushes, nachos, and pretzels.
“We are looking for a few more food trucks to join us right now,” Tipton said. “We want something unique to entice our visitors’ taste buds. We cannot take corn dogs or cotton candy vendors because the carnival has already laid claim to those foods.”
To inquire about vendor or food truck opportunities at the 2023 Canadian County Free Fair, call Tipton at (405) 422-5400.