Grange Fair notebook: Fudge-dipped bacon debuts

One man called it a combination of sweet and salty. A woman sitting on a nearby bench said she likes the two foods separately but, together, they didn’t sound appetizing.

The treat? Fudge-dipped bacon, making its debut at this year’s Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair among the foods that have become traditional favorites over decades.

Kyle Poorman, of Port Matilda, walked up with friends to the vendor on East Rhone Avenue, which also sold “walking tacos,” a small bag of Doritos filled with taco meat and all the trimmings. Joyce and Keith Mackneer fried the bacon crispy and dipped it in fudge.

“You have to try it,” Poorman said, after paying for his piece. Upon trying it: “It’s actually really good.”

The $2.50 treat comes with or without sprinkles. Joyce Mackneer said most people took it without.

“People ask what it tastes like,” she said. “Well, it tastes like chocolate and bacon.”

A campaign opportunity

Democratic Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe said he put the word out to all statewide candidates that he would take them on tours of the Grange fairgrounds and introduce them to Centre Countians. Only one took him up on the offer — John Hanger, a Democrat running for governor next year.

Local Democrats and Republicans and election candidates for both parties often attend Grange Fair, and the parties have booths set up near headquarters.

Hanger said this was his first time attending Grange Fair, calling it a “tremendous tradition.”

“People are very friendly, very interested,” he said.

One of the highlights of Hanger’s campaign is a “zero-tuition” college plan, in which high school graduates would be able to attend two years of community college or one year at a public university without paying tuition. After graduation, they would pay back 1.2 to 2.2 percent back into what Hanger is calling the Keystone Opportunity Fund.

“No longer do you have to take on big debt to go to college,” he said.