Monticello Times’ staff offers picks for Riverfest favorite foods

One of the many highlights of Riverfest is the incredible amount of variety and options it brings to the community each year. There are activities for everyone, different places to go, people to see. And perhaps most importantly, so many different foods to eat. While we could never possibly cover all of the great foods at the annual Monticello get-together, we wanted to give you a small guide by sharing our favorite Riverfest foods, or food moments.

Deb Markling – Thursday Afternoon Block Party
I can’t remember the last time I purchased a package of hot dogs! Who fixes a hot dog for oneself?

What do you do with the other buns in the package? There’s something about a hot dog that makes you think of camaraderie with friends, family, and neighbors. Maybe that’s what makes the hot dog taste so good, the company of others!

May be that’s why I love the Riverfest block party lunch, held on Thursday of Riverfest week. A free hot dog, chips, pop and saving the best for last the bars and cookies made and donated by the senior center.

Ah the memories of my Mom baking in the kitchen. I’ll be their, and I have no problem sampling the goods so I can tell others what’s in them in case of an allergy, plus sometimes bars get crumbled or cookies break in half, you can’t serve those! Just put them to the side and I have no problem taking them off your hands, I’ll even bring my own container.

You know there’s just something about looking forward to & craving that hot dog the second week of July and seeing so many happy faces with ketchup & mustard on it.

Terri Sweet – Chicken Dinner
Ahhhhh Riverfest!!! It’s certainly one of my highlights of summer. I love every bit of it and try to take it all in. My favorite part is near the end where I head to the park, pick up a chicken dinner and find myself a shady spot at the top of the bank, overlooking the river. Nothing makes this delicious meal taste better than watching the river roll by and visiting with friends and neighbors as they walk by. Plus…I didn’t have to cook.  The Boy Scout fundraiser is a must eat in my book.  You can find me on the bank on July 13 around 5 p.m.  Hope to see you there.

Craig Dahlberg – Grilled Food
I am a “Food off the Grill” guy during Unofficial or Official Riverfest events.
The hamburgers with all of the fixings during the Wednesday night Downtown Block Party or the newly named (2013) RIVERDOGS at the Saturday night Street Dance along with a cold beer is heaven on earth. Why?  It is the most simple of the summer foods, the smell in the air is wonderful and I enjoy just sitting in a lawn chair or on a picnic bench people watching.

Clay Sawatzke – Cream Cheese Won Tons
My top choice certainly isn’t the most filling thing at Riverfest, but it very well might be the most delicious. My favorite food at the four-day event is the cream cheese won tons that can typically be found at Chin Yuen’s booth during Saturday morning’s Art in the Park.

It’s my favorite food for two main reasons. One, they are sinfully delicious. The hot crispy outside shell, with the  warm melt-in-your-mouth filling is a near perfect combination. Two, you can order them by themselves without feeling too guilty. I mean, have you ever tried to go into a restaurant and just order two won tons? It would be like just ordering a small fry at McDonalds, you feel like you have to get more. But at Riverfest, you can, and in fact are encouraged to, pick up just a couple of won tons from the booth as you keep moving and enjoying all of the activities in the park, while also maintaining some room in your belly to enjoy additional treats that Riverfest has to offer.

Tim Hennagir – Chicken Dinner
Taking the traditional approach, my favorite Riverfest food has to be the chicken dinner served by the Monticello Boy Scouts and catered by Von Hanson’s Meats of Monticello.

There’s nothing better than smokehouse-roasted chicken served piping hot with all of the side fixings. This dinner is an absolute steal of a meal deal priced at $7 for an adult meal and $5 for children age 12 and under.

A popular legend tells that years ago every casino in Las Vegas had a three-piece chicken dinner with a potato and a veggie for $1.79. A standard bet back then was $2, hence when you won a bet you had enough for a chicken dinner, hence the phrase, “Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner.”

You won’t lose by sitting down to a chicken dinner Sunday at Riverfest.

If I had to pick a close second for favorite meal, it would also involve the other type of meaty fare that Von Hanson’s is bringing to Riverfest. I’m talking about the appropriately named River Dog and Ultimate River Dog. The latter will be served with chili and cheese.

There are five dogs to a pound instead of eight. Either way, biting into one of these plump and meaty tube steaks is a treat. Andrew Stack, The skinless, 100-percent beef hot dogs are very similar to the dogs sold as concessions during Minnesota Twins games at Target Field. You can avoid major league prices by having your food festival fun at Riverfest. Enjoy!