The Deep Fried Oreo Festival

This past weekend there was a festival on Ditmars - our block, 37th Street, was one of the main centers of the festivals featuring a giant saint, San Antiono, decorated in a box decorated with lights, flowers and....money.

From doing a Wikipedia search on San Antonio I found that this man lived a very humble life, he was incredibly poor (maybe that is why they clipped money to the statue of him - giving him what they think he deserved?), but he was poor by choice.  He took the Bible very literally and sold every possession he owned and gave everything away.  Some consider him the first monk.  Then the article went into detail about his death by being tortured by demons and some not so happy things...but I digress.  The festival was put on by a local men's club and it was in honor of this saint.

When we heard about the festival I kinda knew what to expect.  I've been to several NYC Street Fairs in the past - various vendors and food, maybe a kiddy bounce house.  But this one was a tad more elaborate bringing in a few carnival rides and games...including one called "Soak the Bloke."

This guy would tell silly jokes and tease the crowd.  His face was done up in black and white paint, so he looked a bit like a skeleton, and he had the most memorable laugh...and not memorable in a pleasant way.  It was a method to get attention-and it did.  Unfortunately, the laugh was amplified and could be heard in our apartment less than half a block away, when we weren't running the fans and A.C.  Joe and I also made the mistake of mentioning how we didn't like his laugh and would mimic it as a joke.  However, Henry took this as we didn't like the guy and then became fearful of the guy...to the point of waking up at night crying due to a nightmare that he was in Henry's room!  Poor baby.  Lesson learned for Mommy and Daddy!  Thankfully we straightened it all out on day 3 of the fair and Henry decided he now liked the Soak the Bloke guy, he was funny and nice and really got a kick out of watching him get soaked.

We spent one evening walking through the fair, it was a fun evening and it was interesting to observe some of the differences between what you find here versus a typical Minnesota fair. 


The street decorations draping across the light poles are always there, but they were lit up for the festival - and I noticed a few days before the festival one of them has a saying on them that basically translates to "Long live Saint Anthony".  (i think...)

Funnel cakes, lemonade and deep fried Oreo's.  Pretty typical Minnesota.  We deep fry everything!  Candy bars, hot dish, spaghetti, cheese.  You name it, we've fried it.

A fire station is just a few blocks from our home, so we often see firetrucks, Henry never tires of watching them!


Okay, here we have some interesting stuff.  Pork Braciole?!  Excuse me?  Whaaaaaaaaat?  Never heard of it.  But maybe I live under a rock.  Here is a recipe for it.

Rice balls?!  And who is Pannelle?  Ya, I think I do live under a rock.  This article tells me Pannelle (correct spelling is Panelle) and rice balls are two different things.  Both sound tasty.

This is not something you'd see at a normal MN fair either - giant sausages being cooked.  We generally stick to brats and hot dogs.  Everything smelled amazing.

Shish-ka-bobs.  Yum.

 There was a raffle for various prizes, including that car.

I haven't a clue what Sausage Broccolli Rabe is either.  However, I'm continually amazed at how "professional" signs and printings are spelled incorrectly.  I wonder if I'll ever get used to that?  Sausage Broccoli Rabe sounds pretty dern good though--recipe here.

Giant smoker-o-meat.  Not too strange, I've seen similar in MN.

Corn on the cob and Maiz Asado.  I get the first part, not the second.  But it sure looks good!  I tried to Google it, but all the pages are in Spanish that come up...looks like a corn pancake to me.  Yum.

What did Henry spy?

Nope, not ice cream (that's later).

$3.00 lighter...

He was so, so, SO excited!

He kept looking back to the kid behind him, I was standing next to that child's grandmother, we just laughed about it.  It was like Henry was making sure he was following him or something...very cute.

What did you think of it Henry?

Yep.  He was over the moon!  It was a long ride, they made it worth your $3.

However, this little bubble gun - while very cool - was not worth the $8 price tag that it had on it!  I've gotten similar contraptions from Target and the dollar store.

Now what did I spy?


$3 baby!  And after I had picked it up, the vendor said, "2 for $5".  You don't have to ask me twice!  I love me a big crazy ring.

Then Henry saw the ice cream truck...and yep, he already knows the name of it, "Mr. Softee."  He thinks the ConEd truck, the Verizon truck, and the FedEx truck are all Mr. Softee...

It was hot, so ice cream was necessary. :)

Henry's choice, a Spiderman.

Joe's choice, a shake.

My choice?  "Let's walk to Dunkin' Donuts for an iced coffee."

On the way Henry munched on his ice cream and became blue on one side and red on the other!

He got a bit messy...and naturally Dunkin' Donuts had to be out of napkins!  Thankfully there was a prepared mother (unlike myself) at the table next to us who was so kind to offer her wipes.

Amazingly we didn't use her entire pack on that mess!!

Walking back through the festival area I noticed one more oddity...

Regretfully we weren't hungry while we were at the festival - and we weren't in the mood to try new things.  Looking up all these recipes now though I'm wishin' for some rice balls.

Thanks Astoria for another fun evening!


  1. I'm loving your blog Brook. Your latest blog about the festival brought me back to my childhood and the feasts in the North End of Boston. I'm guessing that the festival was the same thing - put on by a religious group. The money pinned to the statue of the saint goes to the religious organization sponsoring the event. Braciole is a pretty common Italian food item in the northeast. there are different spellings but they all refer to thin meat wrapped around various fillings, braised and usually served with sauce. Giant grilled sausage with peppers and onions is another staple of feasts - fried oreos, not so much around here as far as I've seen. I'm glad you guys had a good time and I'm loving reading about you settling into your new home.

  2. Ah! Thank you for the info! And yes, you are right - the festival was put on by a men's club, but a religious one. The Braciole sounds delish! Next time I'll be braver and try some of the food-I don't think I've ever met an Italian dish I didn't like. :) It was really interesting to see the different foods available, MN usually has its share of cotton candy, deep fried goods, brats, burgers and hot dogs. I like the variety and even complexity of fair food here!

  3. Maiz asado literally means "grilled corn", but I've never heard of it before. It looks like all the recipes on Google are just that, grilled corn, so maybe those pancake looking things were something else or that's just what they called them??

    Thanks for sharin'!