Caramel apple booth a family a'fair
Virtually every fair-goer who has attended the Eastern Idaho State Fair over the past 110 years has fond memories of the sweet smell of sugar wafting through the air and the gooey goodness of the golden brown caramel covering tart apples.
Pam and Brian Price began working at the EISFas a young couple trying to earn extra money for their small children. Both are graduates from Snake River High School, Blackfoot is home and has kept them returning to the fair year after year.
In fact, the Prices are so involved in fair time that their entire family works all year to enjoy the 8-day fair as food vendors. After a few years of working at the fair they made the decision to run a few vendor booths themselves. At first they rented. Then they were blessed with the opportunity to purchase in 1987. The kindness and helpfulness of the couple to Bea, an owner of the classic red and white trailer now found across from the 4-H building selling cotton candy, caramel apples, snow cones and soda led to the purchase of the mobile establishment after Bea had run the station for 60 years.
"Bea used to pull out an old copper pan to make candied apples in it. Right to the middle of the floor amongst everything and then push it right back under the counter when she was done." said Pam.
Once they owned four booths and with a young family, the Prices brought their children each year to manage the booths selling the fair classics.
The children grew up with sugar in their veins and a shared a love for the EISF similar to that of their parents. Pam noted that the couple grew up on a farm and moved "to the big city (of Boise) with the kids." With a desire in their hearts to teach their children the same work ethics that they had been raised with, Pam said lovingly, "this is our farm."
Karis Price, a daughter-in-law, said "We work year round for 10 days of work."
All five of the Price children are involved in the business and all have acquired certain status.
Jason Price, second eldest of the group was first to own the fashionable aprons that announce each member's rank in cotton candy expertise as "Master Flosser".
Jason drove his family from Arizona to participate in the fair.
"All the family is involved." said Karis, who just obtained the status of "Master Flosser Roller" and noted that she is the first sister-in-law with the title. "Even the grandchildren start working as soon as they can count change."
Pam said, " We come back to this fair because this is home. We see family and old friends every year. People come from out of state to come back to the fair."
The Prices have tried their hand at other venues but said that the EISF has a hometown feel and a "family environment."
"Other places have become too commercial," Pam said.
Jessica Price, Pam and Brian's youngest child and only daughter, said, "The Eastern Idaho Fair brings the community together."
The Price family members can be found spinning sugar into giant wands of blue and pink on the corner across from Pronto Pups, turning fresh Idaho apples into bright red candied confections across from the tiger ear boothand turning blocks of ice into grape, cherry and lime ice treats across from the 4-H building.