When most fairs, festivals and carnivals are cancelled due to a global pandemic, where are we supposed to get our fair food fix?
Don’t worry. Tammy Royer and her family have you covered.
She and her brother, Daniel Royer Jr. will be setting up their sandwich and fried veggies trailers this Friday and Saturday at the 4M Wresting Complex in Morrisdale beside Key Largo.
This new idea for their concession business was born after all their annual festival and carnivals cancelled this spring.
So far, they have set up in parking lots in Clearfield, Philipsburg and Morrisdale, giving everyone a chance to purchase their favorite carnival foods such as cheese steaks, popcorn chicken, burgers, French fries and Bloomin’ Onions.
Setting up by Swales and the St. Francis School in Clearfield for two weekends went well for them earlier this year.
They discovered that just being open brought some of their food fans to them without the need of other entertainment.
This was a necessary move for this business, as the crisis “impacted us tremendously,” Tammy said.
Things were bad from the beginning for them because she “got hit from both sides” as Tammy is employed a few days a week at a hair salon. With her husband, Jerry Snyder also running concessions, things looked bleak.
Carnivals were “dropping like flies” from their spring schedule and later the fairs started to cancel, as they realized there wasn’t a safe way to operate.
Out of their whole season, only three events did not cancel. For instance, last weekend they were at a monster truck show in Bloomsburg.
“It went well for what it was,” she explained, adding that there was a definite decrease in the amount of people there from past years.
This lack of attendance is typical due to restrictions and people’s reluctance to go to normally crowded events. So, they have to weigh this factor in when they consider setting up anywhere.
“We don’t want to spend money just to lose money,” she said.
Jerry, as a director for the PA State Showman’s Association, has had many Zoom meetings regarding the situation with others in the industry.
“They expect it is going to be this way for the rest of the year,” she said.
One small bright side is that their company is also available to help areas hit by hurricanes or other disasters as a sub-contractor of a storm service relief company.
In fact, Jerry was in New York for several weeks in the spring cooking three meals a day for employees of a gas plant who were locked down there.
The concession business in all has been good to Tammy’s family for many decades.
Tammy’s parents, Carol and Daniel Royer Sr. started 48 years ago with a “knock down tent” from which they sold French fries, chicken wings and soda at the Clearfield County Fair, she said.
They also had a hot dog shop on Third Street and Danny’s Family Restaurant on Market Street, both in Clearfield, prior to purchasing their first trailer from Al Harris, who “talked them into doing it.”
At the height of the business, they had 15 to 20 trailers, some of which had games or other novelties.
It wasn’t difficult to find teenagers to work for them and sometimes they employed teens through all their high school and college years.
“We took kids in as our own,” she said, adding they were “one big happy family.”
Royer’s became a mainstay and “must visit” booths for all of the Clearfield County Fairs.
She and her brother are carrying on the tradition of Royer’s Concessions and not letting the COVID-19 virus stop them from supplying much-needed comfort food.
Right now, they are doing only two days a week at the different locations and doing some maintenance on the equipment during their down days.
To find out when they are setting up near you, check out the Tammy Royer’s Concessions and Royer’s Concessions and Catering Facebook pages.