Amber Osting and Farah Mumma pose together outside of Mumma’s fair stand. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Amber Osting and Farah Mumma pose together outside of Mumma’s fair stand. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – Over 70 years ago, one of the Van Wert County Fair’s most visited food stands, AM Concessions, was created. For the past 30 years, Farah (Askins) Mumma, has run the stand that her family spent much of their time also running.

“It started with Jim May. He would just make it for local get-togethers and use his original recipe,” said Mumma. “His son, Don, was the one that first came up with doing the fairs.”

The stand was originally three sided and made of plywood, and back when it started, the cost of the food was quarters which would be tossed into a milk jug.

“They’d carry them out at night and sit and roll quarters for hours,” said Mumma.

After May, Dolly Wolke ran the stand. During that time, several of Mumma’s unlces starting working there as teenagers.

“My grandmother and several aunts worked in there,” said Mumma. “I got started with my uncle. I was always the chunky kid so I liked to cook and eat.”

Eventually the stand was passed to the Askins family. Mumma still makes each batch of batter by hand and tries to add new items to the menu to draw in new customers.

Some menu favorites include corn dogs, fried mozzarella on a stick, and a bacon wrapped corn dog. A pizza burger on a stick was added this year and Mumma is currently testing a Rubin on a stick for next year.

“It’s fun; it’s not always about the money because things have changed over the years,” said Mumma. “I try to come up with new items. It’s seeing people; the carny family. The rest of the year I’m a normal working person.”

Even after 30 years, Mumma still enjoys running the stand. Her love of food and seeing familiar faces keeps her coming back.

“I’ve seen four generations of families at least,” said Mumma.

Mumma takes the stand to two week-long fairs – The Van Wert County Fair and the Bluffton Street Fair, also in September. She also participates in about six Relay For Life events.

During the off season, Mumma resides outside the Fort Jennings area in Gomer and currently works as a chef at the Elks in Lima.

“Right now I’m just trying to figure out who is going to continue it,” said Mumma. “It’s a lot of hot, hard work but I enjoy it.”