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Thunder and food rolling into Johnstown

Reported By: Maria Miller
Written By: Marc Stempka

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- As hundreds and thousands of people and motorcycles start rolling into Cambria County for another year of Thunder in the Valley, food tents and vendors are all ready to go.

There are the usual booths throughout Johnstown, and then there are some hidden favorites, like the hot pepper sandwich served up by Georgine Sudor, of The Pepper Wagon.

"We take a stuffed hot banana pepper, a Hungarian wax pepper, and we stuff it with hot sausage and cheese," Sudor said. "Then we top it with sauce, and then we put some fried onions on top of it and there it is."

Sudor and The Pepper Wagon have been at Thunder for close to a decade, bringing back the same fans from across the country every year, she said.

"They remember us, and they come back and say, 'First stop here is going to be the pepper sandwiches,'" Sudor said.

This year, she's combined her business with her church, St. Matthews in Southmont.

"We're basically trying to raise some operating costs to keep the church going. One of the best ways to do that, I thought, was to take the concession business, the peppers, and help them raise some money," Sudor said.

However, for anyone not up for spicy food, there are plenty of other favorites. This year there's a new, famous, sandwich in town.

Craig Jones, of Chip n Wich, said his sandwiches are truly different.

"We put gourmet potato chips on our sandwiches for the crunch, it's something totally unique," Jones said.

Jones said they featured their sandwich on national television last year on Food Networks "Food Court Wars," and are bringing their Chip n Wich to Thunder for the first time.

"My restaurant is in Midland, Michigan. It's in the food court. We actually won that location, free rent for a year, so that's where I'm at right now," Jones said. "It was an opportunity of a lifetime, and I'm glad to bring it back."

Thunder in the Valley runs through Sunday in downtown Johnstown and the surrounding communities.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times