Jan 122017

Here in southern Ohio, high school football is a big deal. Although the term, “Friday Night Lights,” became popularized by the portrayal of a high school football team in Texas, this phrase carries the same weight in Ohio when it comes to the enthusiasm this region has for its high school football.
On Fridays in the fall, as school lets out and folks start to get home from work, towns all over southern Ohio become abuzz with anticipation. In any given neighborhood whose team might be hosting a game that night, the sounds of bands permeate the crisp autumn air, and the bright lights emanating from the tops of steel and wooden towers can be seen for miles.
People get to stadium parking lots early to set up shop. Coolers and chairs establish boundaries for each family or party, a little pregame tossing fills the sky with footballs. Hamburger and hot dog supplies are broken out as grills are fired up, and the overall excitement begins to mount as folks start making the pilgrimage toward the gate.
When walking into the stadium, just about the first thing one notices is the aroma of cooking food. Depending on the school and the size of its stadium, the size and scope of each stadium’s concession area varies.
Upon walking into a stadium, it’s almost instinctual to scout out the concession situation and determine the quality of food and snacks that might be available. Many times the games will start shortly after 7p.m., which doesn’t give someone coming from work much time to grab a bite to eat. And what hungry soul can resist the mixture of popcorn, hot dogs, pizza, and cooking hamburgers wafting through the air?
In some instances, there might be two or three mobile concession carts to choose from. These tend to provide the typical fare: Soda, water, candy, hamburgers sizzling on a grill and hot dogs cooking on a hot dog roller.
In contrast, the bigger more well-funded programs put on a veritable feast. Usually in situations like these, there is one big stand-alone building and several smaller permanent “huts.” Within these structures, most attendees will find any kind of ballpark food that their hearts desire.
Walking up to the counter, popcorn poppers and nacho warmers can be spotted easily. Concession classics such as hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs and bratwurst are also in the house. In some of these larger operations, pizza ovens and fryers are not uncommon, and occasionally even gourmet pretzels will be available.
For those with a sweet tooth, take your pick between funnel cakes, caramel apples and caramel corn. There have even been Belgian waffle maker sightings at several stadiums throughout the area!
Southern Ohio is indeed a region that takes great pride in its high school football. But the concessionaires can also take pride in the fact that the cuisine they offer helps round out the whole southern Ohio high school football experience.

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