While many of the food vendors are set up with trucks and tents near the carnival at the Carter County Free Fair, there is one group that has  both a kitchen and a small eating area indoors at the Hardy Murphy Coliseum. The Carter County Home and Community Education group first began serving from the location soon after the coliseum opened its doors, and in addition to being open for the fair, they are also open during the Carter County Junior Livestock Show.
Barbara Swindell has been a member of the group for 50 years. She said the group has undergone several name changes over the years, but they first started out as the Home Demonstration Club.
“It was really our great grandmothers who did the Home Demonstration Club,” Swindell said. “They were offered this area here at the coliseum for their kitchen during the fairs and the livestock shows. So they cooked here with a dirt floor.”
She said there have been several upgrades to their space over the years but some of the most important improvements have been the addition of heating and air conditioning.
The group serves up homemade pies, brownies, burgers, hotdogs, nachos and barbecue, and Swindell said they are always happy to take special requests on their burgers.
“Anything special that you want us to do with your burger on the grill just let us know, and we’ll cook you up some onions or something else like that,” Swindell said.
The group uses the money they make during the fair and the livestock show to pay for the upkeep and the utilities on their space as well as to give scholarships to local 4H groups. Swindell said the CCOHC are happy to be helping out area youth while spending time with one another doing the things they love.
“We really enjoy it,” Swindell said. “We’re from all over the area so we’ve got to meet each other this way. Some of us are in Ardmore but some of us are from Lone Grove, Healdton and Dickson. So it’s great to get a chance to come together and be with them.”