Benton Franklin Fair

Woody's Goodies owners have been selling their 'corn dawgs' for 53 years

Cruise the food court at the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo this week and you will find vendors selling pizza by the slice, deep-fried salmon, Yakisoba noodles and humongous barbecued turkey legs.

All delicious, but not typical fair fare.

For that, you need to visit Woody's Goodies, owned by Frank "Woody" and Jonni Norwood of Granger.

Their menu is modest -- burgers, hot dogs, snow cones, elephant ears and what some consider to be the best "corn dawgs" sold anywhere.

Now that's food for a fair.

The Norwoods have been traveling to fairs, rodeos and other community events for 53 years.

"They've brought their traveling kitchen to the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo for over 40 years," said fair manager Lori Lancaster.

Woody Norwood, 86, didn't plan to become a food vendor. After a stint in the Navy during World War II, he returned to high school and eventually graduated from Yakima Valley Community College, the University of Washington and, what is now Central Washington University. He became a teacher and taught business administration in the Granger School District.

In summers, he worked for various concessionaires but never thought to make a career change, until one day in the late 1950s.

"I was a Cub Scout Master," he said, "and we had a food booth at the Grandview Cherry Festival. In those days the whole town got involved."

Norwood and his brother, Johnny, sold hamburgers for 25 cents.

"We had the noon to 4 p.m. shift but no one showed up to take over so we worked from4 to 8 p.m. ... There was a big party in town and everyone was over there." he said.

The brothers worked the next four hours and waited, in vain, for someone to pick up the money.

"We ended up taking the money home, dumped it out on the kitchen table and counted it," he said. "It was more money than I made in a month for teaching."

He didn't quit teaching. Norwood taught at various schools for 29 years and worked in restaurants for 22 years. On the side, Woody's Goodies began making the fair and rodeo circuit.

The Norwoods still take their traveling kitchen on the road from April to September feeding people at various community events in the Northwest. But they only do two fairs anymore, the one in Lynden and here.

Norwood's corn dawgs -- their best seller -- have been a favorite of fairgoers for generations.

"Every once in a while a man or woman will tell me when they order that they remember eating one ofmy corn dawgs when they were a kid," he said.

His wife said people seek them out at events like groupies at a rock concert.

Norwood uses a special recipe, one he still mixes himself and doesn't share.

If you want to taste his "Almost Famous" dawgs, you'll have to visit Woody's Goodies at the fair in the food court area between the rodeoarena and the commercial buildings.