People still like their cotton candy but they want to have healthier foods as well.
—Scott Dennis, owner Salt Spring Noodle Bar
Don't worry, mini-donuts are safe.
So are deep-fried pickles, burgers and fries and candy apples. Those favourite midway foods aren't going anywhere.
Red River Exhibition CEO Garth Rogerson prepares to dig into a Veggie Explosion. (Robin Summerfield)
But salads, donairs, noodles, soft tacos, burritos and wraps--all loaded with fresh vegetables--are also enticing eaters at this year's Red River Exhibition.Read: Handcrafted Manitoba ice cream flying out of freezers
The new Expressway food tent, located west of the main gate, is the new hub for healthier food and part of a bigger plan to offer fair fans more than just deep-fried everything, says Red River Exhibition CEO Garth Rogerson.
Three years ago, the exhibition began talking to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority about what they could do to promote healthy eating. "We went on a mission."
Last year, the Ex introduced a few health-food concessions. The unveiling of Expressway this year marks the next step in the evolution, he says.
Stephen Ford says fresh, gluten free and no preservatives are at the heart of his menu of Mexican favourites. (Robin Summerfield)
"It's fine to have some deep-fried food but it's a one-off, everything in moderation as they say," Rogerson says. "But this is about engaging people in healthy eating."
At Yo Quiero, fresh ingredients, gluten-free foods, house-made salsas and guacamole and preservative-free Mexican favourites are at the heart of the menu, says owner Stephen Ford.
"I just believe in real food," says Ford, whose business is based in Coquitlam, B.C. "The whole industry, they're trying to go this way."
Midway trucks, like Salt Spring Noodle Bar, are selling healthier, non-fried foods at carnivals and local fairs across Canada. (Robin Summerfield)
Scott Dennis, owner of Salt Spring Noodle Bar, agrees. "People still like their cotton candy but they want to have healthier foods as well," says Dennis, who launched his mobile food company in 2012. Water, not oil, is used for preparation in Dennis' truck.
While the new Expressway tent is health-food central, other food stands on park grounds also sell wholesome foods.
Around the Ex, hungry folks with healthy appetites will also find roasted corn on the cob, roasted turkey legs, salads and whole-wheat wraps stuffed with vegetables and grilled chicken, among other options.The Red River Exhibition runs June 14-23.