Al’s French Frys to bow out of Champlain Valley Fair

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 4:02 PM EDT
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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A staple at the Champlain Valley Fair for over three-quarters of a century won’t be back this year.

Food has always been a popular part of the Champlain Valley Fair, and there’s one spot that’s been feeding fairgoers for nearly 80 years. But this year, Al’s will not be back for the “10 best days of summer.”

“It was a pretty difficult decision,” said Shane Bissonette, Al’s co-owner. He says inflation is forcing them to pull the plug. “Unfortunately, due to rising costs on pretty much everything, we made the business decision that it’s time for us to move on from there.”

The news hit some fairgoers hard. “That’s terrible. There’s some traditions that we don’t like disturbed and Al’s is one of them,” said Vickie Moreau of East Barre.

“We have had a great working relationship with them and it’s gonna be a bummer to see them go,” said the fair’s Jeff Bartley. He says crews are clearing out buildings that Al’s has called home for years. “There will be a little bit of an adjustment for a couple of years.”

And it’s not just the fries. Al’s had six locations selling a variety of items from friend dough to smoothies. Bartley says they are all going. “We are working hard on filling the booths. The one right behind us -- which is one of the premier spots at the fair -- we have already -- we placed it,” he said.

But while they are saying goodbye to the fair, Al’s is expanding their food truck locations. “We are here on Williston Road open seven days a week. We are going to have a couple of spots in Milton. We are going to have a spot in St. Albans. And we are looking to have some spots in the southern part of the state,” Bissonette said.

They say those food trucks are easier to staff than 10 days at the fair in August.