Tasty treats

Mouths from waiting customers were watering as concession workers dipped dough into a vat of hot oil, watching it darken and crisp before sprinkling it with sugar and cinnamon.
Julie Angell
Aug 1, 2014


Elephant ears are just one of the many carnival food staples offered every year at the Coast Guard Festival, and they rarely disappoint customers who line up from morning to sundown.

Jim Reek of Dutch Treat Concessions counted at least 17 concessions down from his own along Harbor Drive, not including several food choices along Washington Avenue this week.

There are three generations now working for Dutch Treat Concessions. One of the employees producing the elephant ears from scratch was Reek’s grandson.

“When you’re born, you’re in,” Reek said, laughing.

Sweet corn being shucked, cooked and then brushed with hot butter was a hot commodity as folks stopped and stared at the unique carnival treat. Mike King recited her roasted corn on the cob order, which was with a generous amount of butter slathered on it with a brush.

“I got one yesterday and it was good,” King said Thursday, smiling as she held her hand out for her corn. “That’s why I’m back.”

There’s plenty of work that’s put into delivering the best carnival food. Wanda McBride, Donnie’s Bar-be-que Smokehouse worker and Donnie’s wife, said it’s a three-day process to get ready for the Coast Guard Festival.

The Smokehouse claims one of the larger territories on the street with two concessions separated by a lemonade stand and a large, black smoker emitting enticing smells up and down the street.

McBride said they sell “a little bit of everything,” from turkey legs to chocolate cheesecake. She estimated at least 900 pounds of turkey legs are hauled in for the week, and the most popular items among their customers are pulled pork and rib tips.

Coast Guard Festival attendees have two more days to snatch up as much carnival food as they can before the gyros, corn dogs, elephant ears and pulled pork are gone until next year.

See more festival photos at grandhaventribune.com/photos.



The rib tips are tasty but a bit overcooked and tough and hard to chew :-(


I find it interesting that we allow so many food vendors. The carnival hurts business for most of the restaurants that have a hard enough time in this seasonal town as it is. Then, after the carnival and the attendees clog the only parking and entrances to the restaurants, we allow dozens of food vendors to set up practically anywhere (actually using public parking that could be utilized for people going to restaurants, to shop, etc.). We put vendors next to Chinook Pier, which is owned by the city and has restaurants as tenants. We also put vendors literally on top of other restaurants "Under The Boardwalk"......yet another city owned property. These small businesses only have about 45 days to make a living and we block there visibility with competing businesses during the best week of the year!


What prevents these local businesses from getting a permit and setting up a booth of their own? This should be seen as an opportunity and most will buy from local vendors first if they are lined up along the same stretch. It's a festival and the public wants festival fast food.


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