ALEXANDRIA − Food stands lined the midway section of Alexandria’s Beulah Park on Monday, a welcome sign that the traditional fair food is back this year at the annual Madison County 4-H Fair.

Funnel cakes, Lemon Shake-Ups and other favorites are available for fairgoers to enjoy this week.

“I think it’s awesome that everyone can get together again and not be stuck at home,” Kelly Zion, of Gas City said. Attending the fair for the first time, she believes the food vendors are one of the main attractions.

“It helps kind of bring out a crowd,” she said. “I like to people watch, and so it’s wonderful seeing all these different types of people come out and enjoy themselves.”

Alexandria Kiwanis Club member Nena Hobbs said many of the food vendors opened around the same time as the rides on Monday.

As many vendors travel from outside the county, she “was sure they got hit in the pocketbook” last year due to the pandemic.

Terry Randall, ofMarion, said he has worked at the Madison County Fair for about 18 to 20 years. Now retired, he helps his stepson, Dorian Lee, at one of his two vendors.

“(Last year) hurt because we do pretty good here,” Randall said. “This is a good fair for us.”

Lee said he is gaining a lot of business this year, as many people from all over the county return for a helping of his fried green tomatoes.

“I have everybody just waiting to come back and see me,” he said. “I love fair time, being able to do this. ... I’m making the money to support my children and just show them how it’s done.”

Randall and Lee hope to continue seeing business grow and more customers return throughout the week.

“So far, business is looking good. Sunday was pretty busy and you know, the mornings are slow,” Randall said. “But that’ll change at about five o’clock ... we’re going to get really busy.”

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