The sizzling sound of grilling meat and the delicious smell of unhealthy fried food will waft through the city of Gering on Friday, July 9, as around 30 food vendors will set up downtown for the annual Oregon Trail Days food fair.
Organizer Jodi Ruzicka said the fair will have everything from cotton candy and popcorn to Mexican and barbecue. Vendors will range from non-profit fundraisers like the Cub Scouts hot dog stand to restaurants who take their food mobile for the evening. Vendors will be from all over the Panhandle and include a few from Colorado and Wyoming, too.
“It’s a good way to make money for your organization — church groups and stuff — we have a lot of those,” Ruzicka said. “Some of our main food vendors that come that have establishments in town, I think they mainly come out because they want to get word out with their business. So, it’s a good way for them to advertise their business.”
Ruzicka said that typically thousands of people come out for the food fair, and with the car show going on too, it will be a great atmosphere.
“With the car show going on down there, too, and they’re going to have music and stuff, it just takes up the whole main street,” she said. “We’re also going to have a water slide for the kids by the Civic Center. It’s a fun event.”
Ruzicka, who has lived her whole life in Gering, said she’s been in charge of organizing the food fair for the last five years. While she isn’t sure just how long the fair has been a part of Oregon Trail Days, she said it had to be at least over 20 years.
Growing up in Gering, Oregon Trail Days is one of her favorite times of the year, she said.
“I just love seeing people come out again. After this last year with COVID, it’s just going to be so fun to have people gather again and get out. I love seeing people enjoy the food fair,” she said. “It’s just a blast.”
Vendors have until Friday, July 2, to register. The event will take place Friday, July 9, from 5 to 9 p.m. Ruzicka said the food fair will be the place to be for supper or maybe an early evening snack that dat.
“The food is wonderful,” she said. “There’s some of the best food around town at that food fair.”
Check out these stories about the events that will make up Oregon Trail Days' 100th Celebration this year.