Meet the Master of Funnel Cakes at Ribfest

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Meet someone who puts the fun in funnel cakes.

The sugary treat is the sweet taste of summer festivals, and at Ribfest, Steve Hertzberg is the familiar face behind the fryer.

“I’m the first one here in the morning and the last one to leave at night,” said Hertzberg.

For 23 years Hertzberg has been frying funnel cakes with the Naperville Lions Club, but his ties to Ribfest go back even further.

“This is the 30th anniversary of Ribfest,” said Hertzberg, the Naperville Lions Club President from 2016 to 2017. “The first year was held on Rotary Hill, we didn’t know anything about it. We were still cooking sweet corn back then. The following year in 1989, we came on board and we’ve been here ever since. So this is the 29th year we’ve been at Ribfest, which makes us the oldest vendor on the lot.”

The cakes start from Pennsylvania sweet pancake batter mixed with water. The batter is poured into 400-degree fat-fryers using vegetable oil and cook for one to two minutes.

The finished product is topped with powdered sugar, with your choice of extra toppings, too.

“We can put all sorts of fruit toppings on it, we have blueberry, apple, cherry, and strawberry, and for every can of cherry we go through 12 cans of strawberry. It’s a very popular flavor,” added Hertzberg. “Then we can top with whipped cream and powdered sugar the edges, it’s quite the nice treat.”

But the nicest treat of all is that the funnel cakes are made for a good cause.

“The purpose of our club is to generate income though varying fundraisers to raise money to give to people with blind disabilities, hearing disabilities, eye surgeries, and diabetes,” explained Hertzberg. “We have a social services program that every month we spend $9,000 on, and the money goes right back to the people here in the Naperville area.”

Hertzberg and his Lions Club team have raised as much as $8,000 at Ribfest in previous years. Funneling funds to a good cause.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.