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Featured at the Fair: Egg Roll Booth revival

Egg Roll Booth entrepreneurs, from left, Hanah Dubail, Barbara DelFalco, and Alexis Freeman.  - Contributed photo
Egg Roll Booth entrepreneurs, from left, Hanah Dubail, Barbara DelFalco, and Alexis Freeman.
— image credit: Contributed photo

One of the best parts of the county fair is running into old friends, and getting reacquainted.

With that in mind, there’s a tasty surprise in store at the 2014 fair, one that’s certain to whet the appetite of generations of fair-goers. Hint? Starts with an egg and ends with a roll.

You guessed it. Its six-year hiatus comes to an end with the revival of the much-beloved, long-esteemed Egg Roll Booth.

The game plan and recipe have been passed onto a new generation of egg roll entrepreneurs, Hanah Dubail and Alexis Freeman. But longtime booth co-boss, Barbara DeFalco (1988-2006), and mother of Dubail, has passed along an elevated degree of egg-roll expertise to the pair of industrious 22-year-olds.

A bit of history is perhaps in order.

Once upon a time, having a bite to eat at the county fair meant a corn dog or hamburger, that’s it. One or the other.

Not that’s there’s anything wrong with that, but Roberta Crist thought there should be more, more selection to choose from. Crist happened to cook up a batch of egg rolls for a dinner party, which were exceptionally well received, and then the former proprietor of Friday Harbor’s former Great Getaway Travel had a lightbulb moment. Her friends “egged” her on.

The Egg Roll Booth made its debut in the early 1980s and, as Crist recalls, it went over like gangbusters. The rest, as they say, is history.

“We always had long lines,” said Crist, who moved to Stevenson, Wash. about eight years ago. “I’ve been told a lot of people came to the fair just for the egg rolls, and a lot of younger people I know who are adults now say they grew up eating egg rolls at the fair.”

Freeman and Dubail hope to capitalize on the re-emergence of the homespun fair favorite. The menu includes shrimp or chicken egg rolls, veggie on request, and pot stickers. Dubail gives a nod to “my mom” as the secret to success, but that purchasing just the right amount of product also leads to less waste and better profit. “Having the right portion of cabbage mix is a tricky part, too,” she said.

Although a booth veteran, Dubail expects to be a “bit wary” of the deep-fat fryer, sizzling at 450 degrees, at least on Day 1. “But a few grease burns are to be expected,” she says, and its helps that Freeman, a booth first-timer, is excited to be at the controls.

“She was always pestering us to get in on it,” Dubail said.

Assuming guardianship of a fair treasure, one that’s been resurrected, no less, could prove a bit daunting. And it’s not like the eggs roll themselves; it’s work. But if history repeats itself, Dubail believes all that effort is bound to pay off.

“It’s long hours, but it’s worth it.”

 

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