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Dining Out: Spectacular chicken year after year


The homestyle barbecued chicken dinner at the Middletown Grange Fair is so good that Lynne Bowen will eat it three times – each night it is served at the fair tonight, tomorrow and Saturday.

“Families love the dinner,” said Bowen, who is a member of the board of directors of the Middletown Grange Fair and in charge of the popular meal. “It’s not a meal you would have very often, and it’s a chance for families to sit and eat together.”

Bowen said she looks forward to the opportunity to sit down with family and friends each night of the fair and enjoy the dinner.

The grilled, seasoned half-chicken is the centerpiece of the Lancaster-style meal, which has side dishes of potato salad, corn on the cob, baked beans and a dinner roll. Diners can choose iced tea or milk to drink, and ice cream for dessert. The meal is served at long tables in the grange dining hall, and outside on the porch.

The dinner is served from 3 to 8 p.m. each day.

Those who are not interested in a full dinner can find plenty of other options among the many food vendors at the fair. Sticks to Go is exactly what it sounds like: shrimp, chicken or beef on a stick for easy eating. The popular snack bar will be manned by Bucks County’s 4-H members and their families, serving hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, snacks and drinks, while Marcione’s will return with roast beef and sausage sandwiches.

Lumpy’s BBQ will serve pulled pork and breaded shrimp, Sum Pig food truck will offer smoked pork and chicken sandwiches, and Bonjour Creperie will be back with its truck featuring sweet and savory crepes.

There will be gyros, soft pretzels, doughnuts, kettle corn, ice cream, water ice and frozen chocolate cheesecake.

This is the 71st Middletown Grange Fair, held at the fairgrounds in Wrightstown from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. An old-fashioned agricultural fair with farm animal competitions and exhibits, it also has tractor games, antique and contemporary tractors, hot dog pig races, and daytime and nighttime entertainment.

Home cooks compete for prizes for the best baked goods, jams and pickles, while home gardeners get to show off their biggest and best vegetables and fruits.

Politicians and local businesses set up tables to introduce their wares and sometimes offer samples, while master gardeners provide advice for new and experienced gardeners. Appearances by local royalty also are part of the fair; the new Middletown Grange Fair queen will make appearances, and you might catch a glimpse of a dairy princess.

There is a midway with rides and games.

Admission to the fair is free, and parking is $10 per day per car or $30 for a five-day parking pass.