By Steven Norris

     Another year has come and gone. The cooking oil has cooled, and the concession booth will be shuttered until next year. Our family hasn’t lived in Griffin all that long, but we already know that it isn’t fall in Spalding County until you’ve got a genuine Kiwainianne Korn Dawg nestled in your gut.

     If you’ve never peeked behind the curtain, let me assure you that is a well-oiled machine back there. Refined over decades of experience, that booth knows how to crank out one of the fair’s most sought-after delicacies. Every volunteer has a part to play — a contribution to make — and no step is superfluous.

     The key to a genuine Korn Dawg begins with the batter. A well-guarded secret, the recipe is guarded by Ms. Lucy, the batter queen. As Father Kirk of St. George’s Episcopal Church will tell you, the next essential step is in the placement of the stick. Inserted with an engineer’s precision, the “sweet spot” must be located through trial and error — too far in, there is not enough “handle” to eat the dawg cleanly; too little and gravity will inevitably assert its control over the desired symmetrical artistry.

     Dipping a high quality dawg involves three essential steps: the plunge, the twist, and the stir. This is rarely achieved on the first try, but is honed through studious repetition. Just ask Steve Brown of Spalding Wellstar Hospital. I witnessed him do it to perfection.

     The dipped dawg is then eased into the hot oil bath. One dare not drop it in for fear of grease burns, nor plunge it in too quickly, lest the batter slip from its delicate balance on the dawg’s slick skin. It is at this point that one must keep a hawk’s eye on the clock: too long and the batter crumbles; too little and it emerges doughy.

     From here, it is the job of the frontline worker to select the best dawg for the discriminating customer in line. The longer someone has been a resident of Spalding County (and the more county fairs they have attended), the higher the expectation for excellence. When you’ve tasted Korn Dawg perfection, nothing less will do.

    Customers gladly surrender their dollar bills, knowing they are doing more than purchasing a fair snack. They are investing in scholarships for deserving high school students, filling the shelves of the local food pantry and soup kitchen, and helping to clothe homeless folks in our community. 

     Right there in the Korn Dawg booth, I caught a glimpse of what the Apostle Paul was talking about when he said, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” Everyone had their part to play — Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Charismatics, Lutherans, and Catholics working side-by-side. There were students from Griffin, Spalding, St. George’s, Trinity, and the GRCC who put rivalries aside for a good cause.

     It was almost as if I heard Kevin’s Costner’s voice echoing somewhere through those fairgrounds, “Is this heaven?” No. It’s Griffin, the place where God’s grace becomes edible and all are welcome at the feast.