Roxy’s, corn dogs and kettle corn popcorn are the fair-style foods currently available at the Del Mar Fairgrounds via the Solana Gate. Photo by Chris Stone

Deep-fried-Oreo fans, have hope.

San Diego County Fair officials are seeking to revive one of the most popular parts of the Del Mar summer tradition: enticing food stands along an aroma-packed midway.

Fairgrounds spokeswoman Annie Pierce said Friday that three fair-food vendors are set up this weekend: Kettle Corn, Roxy’s and California Corn Dogs.

“Hours are noon-6 today and tomorrow,” she told Times of San Diego. “This has just started as a small offering.”

Tony Boghosian of Chicken Charlie’s shows off an vanilla ice cream sandwich with pink and blue cotton candy rolled in Fruity Pebbles in 2018. Photo by Chris Stone

But more vendors may be added so people can “drive up and get a taste of the fair,” Pierce said.

“We are envisioning 10+ vendors,” she said via email. “We are waiting for approval from the [county] health department in order to do this. Tentatively, we’re hoping to be open Fridays-Sundays in June, noon-8 p.m.”

She expects to know by next week if it’s a go.

Certainly Chicken Charlie’s would be there — for the 36th year — even though the June 5-July 5 fair itself (with “Heroes, Unite” as theme) has been postponed to 2021 — with the usual complement of 100 food stands.

Tony Boghosian — founder Charlie’s younger brother — said Friday from his Rancho Bernardo store that a midway return is something that “we’re really hoping for and working towards. But it’s not for sure.”

He said the fairgrounds must overcome many obstacles — “all the logistics of it. We’re very hopeful and would love to be involved. And we’re ready to do it.”

The traditional Chicken Charlie’s stands would be set up, but with nontraditional twists.

“It’ll be a different setting, a different atmosphere,” said Boghosian, general manager at Chicken Charlie’s Enterprises. “It’ll be socially distant [if approved], possibly a drive-through type thing.”

In any case, Chicken Charlie’s “FryBQ” restaurant is open now, thanks to relaxed rules announced Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

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“We actually just opened yesterday,” Boghosian said. “Our dining room opened. … We’re seating people with new protocols and social distancing guidelines. And we’re doing it.”

Oliver Feldhausen, owner of 21-year fair vendor Kettle Corn, said the current take was a small percentage of what he’d normally see at the fair, “but of course it’s better than nothing at all.”

Cameron Kasinak of California Corn Dogs said he was a third-generation fair food vendor whose family has come to Del Mar for 30 years.

Friday was “a decent day,” he said. “We’re just trying to get through this whole COVID thing.” 

Updated at 7:33 p.m. May 22, 2020

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