Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What happened with festival food?

     Having been to the annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival several times, I was hoping for a tasty piece of lamb with all the trimmings at the Sheep Folklife Fair in Hailey after a rather cool bike ride from Elkhorn.  Eagerly I waited at the end of a line that was supposed to lead me to the tasty meal. As I waited and waited and gradually moved closer to the serving table, I had a chance to observe the rather young wait staff, which consisted primarily of several freezing girls, perhaps around 15 years old with little training in serving a rather large crowd of people. When I finally reached the front of the line I was told; “We are all out of lamb meat.”  It was 1:30 p.m. after a light breakfast, my stomach was growling for some food and I was feeling grumpy. Would the Munich Oktoberfest run out of beer?

     I walked over to a stand serving lamb burgers for $7 and tried to pay with cash but was told I needed a ticket first as the vendors were not allowed to handle cash. At that time I grew noticeably frustrated and the mature server took pity on me and accepted my money in cash, albeit somewhat reluctantly. I mentioned to her, with rising spirits, that I didn’t think she would be arrested for taking the money. The burger turned out to be laced with garlic and worth no more than half what I paid for it. I am hoping the other half of my money is going to a good cause.

     I had a conversation with a fellow guest from Meridian who concurred with me that the food-serving process and organization for this location is in need of major rework and rethinking.  Where are the days when there was one single caterer who offered several choices and the customer could pay in cash at the beginning of the line? This was a well-organized approach and plenty of food was available at reasonable prices.

     Again, the organizers of this particular event need to rethink and reinvent the food service at the RobertaMcKercherPark.

     Sorry to sound negative, but we have lost the sheep herding demonstration at that location several years ago and now the food service has gone south. I do believe the organizers of this event can do better. The public deserves it.

Henrik Straub

Sun Valley

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