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What's the strangest, or best, food you have eaten at a State Fair, stadium, or other outdoor venue?

I want to pull together a list of the best, strangest and most delectable foods from state fairs, county fairs, outdoor events, and sporting venues.

Any "must have" items that are perhaps regional specialties?

I'd love to know more. All "food on a stick" welcome.

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  1. Great question. I've seen many "strange" ones, but I'll only respond with the one I've actually tried... In the "most unusual" category, Key Lime Pie on a stick (MN state fair.)

    ~TDQ

    1. At the Minnesota State Fair, these are my must haves:

      Corn dog (NOT Pronto Pup! I'm not a fan of the sweeter batter)
      Deep fried cheese on a stick (*salivating*)
      Cheese curds (from the food building only)

      Everything else is incidental for me, really. I haven't had anything too wild. Alligator bites one year but they just tasted like chicken. Ostrich on a stick another year but, again, tasted like chicken.

      Other items I've tried and enjoyed:
      Deep fried green pepper rings
      Sweet Martha's cookies (oh so good!)
      Egg roll from the Bazaar
      Deep fried corn

      I'll get my boyfriend in here to comment further. He's more of an expert in this area as he's been going for years :)

      7 Replies
      1. re: MaggieB

        Oh no! You've triggered the pronto pup vs. corn dog debate! :)

        Oh, and I really liked the toasted chocolate sandwich at the MN State Fair last year.

        ~TDQ

        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          The debate??? There's NO debate...corn dogs rule!!

          And do you know the difference?? Corn dog is a cornmeal based batter, the Pronto pup is a flour base. No contest....Corn dogs rule!

          I love seeing so many die hard MN State Fair people here. It's such an amazing display of food hounding anywhere. What about the deep fried Snicker bars? Alligator on a stick?? The lemonade stands? Those are wonderful on a hot day. All you can drink milk for $.50? Get the Sweet Martha cookie bucket and go sit on the curb by the milk stand and eat warm cookies and cold, delicious milk until you are swooning with delight. The salt water taffy booth, with the mechanical man who turns and pulls the taffy is always one of my favorite stops. Cheeese curds, yum....so greasy! The mini donuts!!!! Ahhhhhh....stop!!! I won't be able to go this year and I am kinda sad. I haven't gone in a while and was thinking it would be this year, but turns out it won't.

          1. re: cooknKate

            Affirmative on the corn dogs. Is the MN SF anywhere near Carlton College? My nephew goes there. Maybe time for a visit.

            1. re: chocolatetartguy

              http://www.mnstatefair.org/

              Its totally worth the trip - the best people watching ever. Lots of livestock, daily parades, vegie contests, seed art.... really a slice of america

              1. re: chocolatetartguy

                The Minnesota State Fair is in St. Paul (technically, Falcon Heights), which is about (guessing) an hour an half drive from Carlton.

                ~TDQ

              2. re: cooknKate

                Well, at least if you miss it, you know it will be back next year. Don't forget: Reuben on a stick, spaghetti and meatballs on a stick, macaroni and cheese on a stick, walleye on a stick, pork chop on a stick, eggroll on a stick...

                ~TDQ

            2. re: MaggieB

              MaggieB- what are chees curds? I saw them at a fair I went to this weekend. I'd never heard of them before.

            3. Minnesota State Fair: Roasted corn at the stand outside the grandstand. For $1.50 (or is it $2?) that has always been the best deal at the fair. It takes all kinds of willpower not to get right back in line for a second ear while I'm still enjoying the first.

              Now, don't even start with the chatter about the "all the milk you can drink" booth. That wasn't a deal, it was a health necessity to wash down those thick, thick, thick iced brownies that they used to sell across the way. I can feel my shirt getting tighter across the belly, just writing about them.

              The deep-fried celery of a couple years ago was more satire than snack. It poked fun at the entire fair food genre, but that didn't make it any less stringy.

              The smell of fried dough still carries me back to county 4-H fairs in New England. One for dinner, with tomato sauce and cheese from the green can, and one for dessert with a layer of powdered sugar.

              In any other setting the food itself would stand no chance, but there is something very special about breakfasts at the church dining halls on the fairgrounds. Early morning, paper cartons of milk and urns full of weak coffee, a holy mix of sausage grease & pancake syrup. Everyone in the tent is in it for the long haul, readying themselves to wrassle garbage cans all morning or judge shelves & shelves of junior craft projects or time their milkings just right to show off their cow's udder in the breed classes. The other breed, the fairgoers themselves, come later well after the first wave have cleared their paper plates & turned again to barn chores.

              4 Replies
              1. re: KTFoley

                LOL!!! Your Celery Story reminded me of one my favorite Simpson's Quote:

                Homer Simpson: See Marge, I told you they could deep-fry my shirt.

                Marge: I didn't say they couldn't, I said you shouldn't.

                I haven't been to a fair in ages (probably a good thing). But I remember last year's big thing at the OC fair was Avocados, stuffed with carne asada and then battered and fried.

                This year they are doing that Krispy Kreme Hamburger thing, but with a Chicken Cutlet.

                --Dommy!

                1. re: KTFoley

                  The roasted corn is $2.50 this year, but if you're patient, you can usually get a two-for-one deal on small or mis-shapen ears of corn. We did, today!

                  I love that roasted corn. It's the one food I cannot miss at the MN State Fair! (And after that, I need a wild-rice corn dog, some garlicky Blazing Salad, a skewer of Walleye-on-a-Stick, and a cone from the Dairy Building - to be eaten while you look at the Dairy Princesses' Butter Heads.) Ah, there's nothing like state fair food!

                  Anne

                  1. re: AnneInMpls

                    I am *so* jealous reading through the wonder of the MN State Fair. It makes ours here in Arizona sound like absolute childs' play. But then, the butter heads you mention would melt almost instantly around here, so I suppose some concessions would have to be made.

                    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                      Actually, Princess Kay of the Milky Way and her attendants each sit in a cooler in a winter coat for the better part of a hot summer day trying to smile and not to shiver too obviously, while their likenesses are carved in a gigantic block of butter. Could be done anywhere.

                2. Deep fried Mars Bar at the Canadian National Exhibition
                  www.mishsplayground.com

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mtampoya

                    Tiny Tom donuts also at the CNE. A baker's dozen right off the little assembly line, shaken in the bag with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. Yum!

                  2. Last few years the Decatur Celebration has had the best shrimp on the stick...the entertainment is good also... alway held the early part of August, but we go for the shrimp on a stick, sold by a group from Mississippi and they bring enough with them to come to Springfield the next week to do the Illinois State Fair...so in a two week timeframe I have access to the best of the shrimp on a stick. Shrimp threaded between pieces of onion on a wood stick. They offer cocktail sauce to dip. It is wonderful...