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Champlain Valley Fair fixture dedicated to filling tummies - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Champlain Valley Fair fixture dedicated to filling tummies

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ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. -

If you want a flavor of tradition at the Champlain Valley Fair, check out this booth in the middle of the midway.

"They keep coming back. They like us; we like them," Clem Cardinal said.

Asked how the food is, one diner said, "Good, that's why I come every day."

And each good dish comes with a side of good. The Lions Club of Essex Junction runs the kitchen here, donating all proceeds to people in need. Every kitchen cook is a volunteer, including Clem.

"It will be quiet for a few minutes and then you get hammered," Clem said.

He's on breakfast duty. Egg sandwiches are the most popular.

"You just listen to what the orders are and put them on," Clem said. "The heat-- you don't think about it."

The 73-year-old arrives at 6 a.m. to prep, and then cooks and cleans until noon. If he looks at ease cracking, frying and serving up eggs, he should. He's been doing this for 47 years at the fair.

Reporter Kristin Carlson: So, you are pretty modest. You don't think you are a great cook?

Clem Cardinal: No.

Kristin Carlson: That's not good advertising.

Clem Cardinal: It may not be, but I just enjoy doing it.

Clem started when he was 26 years old.

The fair is one of the biggest fundraisers for the Lions Club. They put out hundreds of meals a day. Every penny of profit goes back to the community. The Lions target money toward helping kids who are hearing and vision impaired.

Kristin Carlson: Why do you still want to do this?

Clem Cardinal: There is a need for helping less fortunate people and I'll do it as long as I can.

And with that, another order was up. Count on Clem to be back next year.

The Lions booth is open all day every day the fair is open.

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