SACRAMENTO, Calif. — When you say the Madaus family has been on a roll, that might be an understatement.
The family from the small, mountain town of Ahwahnee in Madera County is celebrating its 45th year selling cinnamon rolls at the California State Fair.
"You take a bite of it, and you think, 'Oh, I'm at the fair.' This is what I waited three years after COVID to come back for and get," said 16-year old Lily Madaus, whose grandparents started the family business.
Called Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls, Lily's grandparents actually purchased the original business from some friends in 1978.
Starting with a small trailer, the Madaus family expanded the business and improved on the roll recipe with dough made of patented flour that is milled specifically for the company.
"It's a whole wheat flour versus a pastry flour so that the dough itself is different," said Ryan Madaus, who took over the business from her parents.
Willie Madaus married into the company.
"I spent five years in the Marine Corp. I came out, and I was like this right here is right in my wheelhouse," said Willie Madaus.
This year, the family's "Caramel Crunch" cinnamon roll took home Best of Show honors in the food division for the California State Fair.
In 2019, their "Bacon Bomb" cinnamon roll won Best of Show as well.
As tasty as it is, it may not be the healthiest of choices at the fair. The "Bacon Bomb" has 1,000 calories and 15 grams of fat. Ryan Madaus jokingly adds the roll is "Keto friendly" thanks to the bacon.
There are six flavors to choose from, and pricing runs from $8 to $12 depending on your choice.
"It's the best food fair ever," said Burrell DeVine of Citrus Heights.
He said he has purchased a cinnamon roll at the state fair since the Madaus family began their business.
The family said it sells on average 2,000 rolls a day at Cal Expo's Building A. Since the family sells nearly year round at fairs across the state and in Arizona, it takes with them the same employees. Since it's a family affair as well, all travel together in RVs.
45 years since they began, it's fair to say they have been on a roll ever since. The family also plans to unveil a new cinnamon roll flavor at next year's state fair.