At this year’s San Diego County Fair, a business coup took place that went unnoticed by most fairgoers; but, it was the talk of longtime merchandise-booth owners in Bing Crosby Hall.
For over 25 years, out of the same spot in the southwest corner of the exhibit hall, Donut Express has served fresh, warm, mini-donuts coated with sugar. This year, the name of the booth had changed. And gone are the orange, 1980s-vintage machines. The equipment, while looking mechanically the same, is shiny and new. The name on the plexiglas booth read, “Dixie’s Mini Donuts.”
Dixie Moore of Vista worked for Donut Express for 18 years. In recent years, Moore was the familiar face one would see cooking and greeting customers. Moore said she had a falling out with her boss earlier this year.
When it came time to sign this year’s lease, the fair picked Moore, because they knew she was the operational person in charge, claims Moore. “My name had also been on the lease for years."
In front of a constant line of customers, two machines drop the dough into the hot oil. The donuts cook as they float down a two-foot-long river of oil and then wind up in a pan of sugar. At four dollars a dozen, it is a traditional must-eat for many fairgoers.
As of Thursday, July 1, at 2:00 p.m., according the counters on machines, Dixie and her helpers (her two grandkids) had cranked out 172,396 mini donuts at this year’s fair.