Wayne County Fair: Apple Jacks
“Apple jacks! Come get your apple jacks!” hollers the fryer to a growing line of fairgoers. If there is one food that rings true to a county fair in the boondocks of Eastern North Carolina, it’s the apple jack.
Chef Vivian Howard had a whole episode of A Chef’s Life about apples and this beloved hand pie. Just mention apple jacks around here and locals will wax poetic about this humble pie. Whether it’s about splitting one on their first date at the fair, or about the how the church ladies work so hard to make them for revivals and homecomings, or how grandma makes them for Thanksgiving dessert, these fried pies hold a special place in the hearts of the folks of Eastern North Carolina. Mention apple jacks just an hour or two up the road in the big city and folks will be confused about why you fry the cereal.
Every year, church members of all ages head to the fair to fill, fold, (double) crimp, and fry apple jacks at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair in Dudley, North Carolina. On average, Faith Church, the current apple jack connoisseurs, make and sell 600 apple jacks a night, sprinkled with love and their secret ingredient.
Reminiscent of a fried apple pie, but better because the shell is actually pizza pie dough from Pizza Inn, a local pizza haunt known for their “pizzert.” The apple jacks at Wayne County Fair are served from a modest tent away from the fanfare of the blinking Fried Oreo signs and Krispy Kreme burger stands.