LIMA — Taste of the Fair is a family affair for Bare Bones BBQ.
The family owned mobile barbecue stand is now a staple at the Allen County Fair, one of several regional events the Green family travel to each year as part of their seasonal food truck business.
Connie Green and family purchased the barbecue stand five years ago, foregoing a brick and mortar store for life on the road. Green says her customers follower her wherever she goes, be it the fairgrounds or the parking lot of the Lima Mall.
But the Allen County Fair is one of the biggest events Bare Bones BBQ attends each year.
“Our customers are repeat customers. They look for us,” Green said. “They want to see where we’re at. They’ll start sending us messages — you gonna be at the fair?”
Green manages the barbecue stand with her daughter-in-law, Angie Green.
Passersby could sample a sampler version of the family’s Frito Pie, a combination of corn chips, baked beans, pulled pork and shredded cheese with Sweet Carolina barbecue sauce, one of about a dozen locally made specials sold during Taste of the Fair Tuesday.
But Bare Bones BBQ is most famous for its ribs and pulled pork, which Green said are smoked fresh and seasoned with a special dry rub.
“We enjoy talking to the people,” said Green, who is currently looking for a smaller mobile stand to make traveling easier.
She plans to attend Lima’s upcoming Food Truck Festival, slated to be held at the fairgrounds in September, and will be traveling to the Van Wert County fair next.
Green’s connection with customers goes beyond interactions at the fair and messages on Facebook, where Bare Bones BBQ advertises its upcoming events.
“It’s a Christian-run business,” Green explained. “There’s sometimes we’ll get people that will come up here and pour out their problems. … We try to cheer them up, maybe give them a Bible verse. Some have even asked us to just pray for them through the week, and we’ll do that.”
The barbecue stand is one of several locally owned food stands participating in this year’s Allen County Fair.
Frequent fairgoers may know the Lugibihl family’s homemade ice cream stand, a staple at the Allen County Fair for almost 30 years.
“We make it right on the spot,” said Dorothy Lugibihl, whose passion for homemade ice cream dates back to family trips to Amish country.
“The first time we came here, they said it’s all the way back there,” she said. “I thought, nobody’s going to find us. Oh my. They found us. Everybody knows us.”
The Lugibihls rely on a makeshift tractor the family retrofitted to manually churn ice cream, eliminating the need to churn by hand. The sound is likely a familiar one, ringing through the fairgrounds and reminding passersby that homemade ice cream and root beer floats are just down the way.
Jay Lugibihl, who helps his mother run the stand each year, said it takes about 20-25 minutes to make the ice cream from scratch. But much depends on the weather. When the humidity is high, Jay said, it takes a bit longer.
The family ice cream business is something of a hobby for the Lugibihls, who travel to county fairs throughout the region each summer. The family sometimes makes special orders in-house too.
“If people want to order it, we’ll make it,” Jay Lugibihl said.
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.