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Local State Fairs

I've always heard that fair food is some of the best food you can eat well, the Indiana State Fair has started here in Indianapolis and I can't wait to attend and enjoy all that good fair food.
Good Eats to all!

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  1. The Iowa State Fair starts today. In the past I would go out and get some Cajun Chicken, fried cheese curds, pork chop on a stick, grater taters, and wash it all down with a nice Millstream from Amana. Anymore I'm thinkin, is that worth the 40 bucks it will cost me? Not really.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Bobfrmia

      I hear the Iowa State Fair is a Great State Fair, the best state fair in its state. :)

      At the MN state fair, I'll look for whatever's "new" on a stick. Last year, I think I had walleye on a stick. I also liked the toasted chocolate sandwiches. Yum.


      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        It is the ONLY state fair to have a movie titled for it, about it, or something. It's just getting to expensive for what you get. I love the Cajun chicken on a stick. But a couple bites for 6 bucks? Maybe I'm cheap but it just seems like to much. Now I have to quit thinking about it or I'll have to go.

        1. re: Bobfrmia

          I thought that movie was about Texas. :)

          1. re: Bobfrmia

            Yes, the lyric "Our state fair is a great state fair, the best state fair in our state" is from the movie, imaginatively called "State Fair" about the Iowa State Fair. Some of the old props from that movie reside at the MN state fair. :)

            This year, we hear MN state fair is going to have "hot dish on a stick."

            Here's a link to the "Food finder"--eight days and cow-nting!


            Try searching the on-a-stick category (I see spaghetti and meatballs on a stick is back). Hilarious!


      2. Evan Bayh attended the Iowa State fair today. He commented that the thing he noticed about the Iowa fair is that they serve beer. Something the Indiana fair doesn't do. He hopes to bring that info back as a way to improve the Indiana fair.
        If he really does, and gets it done, you're welcome.
        How can you eat fair food without beer? Deep fried anything requires beer.

        1. Wisconsin State Fair Rocks! Brat, Beer Cheese Curds & Creampuffs!!!

          1 Reply
          1. re: torta basilica

            I had some of all of those this year. I also had potato pancakes & Polish sausage from the Polish restaurant (delicious), roast corn on the cob (probably my 45th consecutive year of this item), ostrich burgers, and batter-dipped deep-fried Oreos (NOT destined to become a life-long favourite, but at least I can say I tried one). Lots of samples of summer sausage, soups, dips, fudge, bison, goat cheese, honey, maple, cranberries. It was a great fair this year!

          2. Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota all have great state fairs. I've been to the Indiana and Minnesota state fairs.

            The Minnesota State Fair runs for 10 days and ends on Labor Day--a perfect end for summer. Then the kids go back to school and not before. That might explain, besides being in a metro area of 3 million people, why it is the most attended per day average in up to 1.7 million total in those 10 days.

            Fairs are for pigging out. It can't hurt once a year can it?

            1. I'll represent Ohio on this one - something I'm really upset about not attending is this years Clinton County Corn Festival in Wilmington, OH. The best roasted corn I've ever had.


              1. Bob, it's the fair, so here are my thoughts about the "Best state fair in our state."

                This year a friend invited a BBC friend from London to visit the Midwest. As a food editor the fair embraced her. She was asked to judge cakes, BBQ, and other food cookoffs. Her spouse was given a list of non-deep fried items and an English gentleman had the following comments.

                The leg of lamb sndwich from the lamb producers (in front of the sheep barn) was "the best ever!" Pork on a stick (pork chop) from the Iowa pork producers was "spot on". When last heard from he was on his way to try the turkey tenderloin sandwich from the turkey association while passing by the sweet corn roasted in the husk. He did say that he advanced his sweets by having home made ice cream from the Bauder Pharmacy (local Des Moines) spot near the show pavillion. Fresh peach is the best.

                With over a million attendees a year you don't have to eat fair food to have a great time. And yes Indiana, beer is sold at the fair, as are local wines, great Margaritas from the local hispanic community, and so on and so on, and, you get the idea so visit, if not this year then next. If visiting just post and Iowans will tell you about this great state fair, as will friends from London. Enjoy.

                4 Replies
                1. re: DrWine

                  I'm almost inspired to get in my car and drive to the Iowa state fair RIGHT NOW. Is your food editor friend going to write a story? If so, I hope you do come back and link it for us. Did you show your friend the giant cow made of butter (you still have that at your fair, don't you? I think the same gal that carves the Princess Kay of the Milkyway and her court into butter does your cow, right?)


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Nope, not the same woman.

                    Norma "Duffy" Lyon did the cows (and a lovely Last Supper (with butter on the table!)) until she retired.

                    Linda Christensen does Princess Kay and her court.

                    Here's a great article telling what past princesses did with their butter heads:

                    Man, I love the fair! And just to get you inspired for our own state fair, you should have a listen to Ann Reed's State Fair song...

                    1. re: MplsM ary

                      Clearly, I don't know my Dairy Queens as well as you do. ;-)


                      1. re: MplsM ary

                        Thanks for that Princess Kay link, I'm glad to learn what an old high school flame did with her butter head! One of these days, I'm going to drive back to Minny (from DC) just for the fair.

                        Until them, thanks goodness for the deep-fried cheese curds at the Rockville, MD., A&W ...

                  2. Best food at the fair:

                    Pork Chop on a Stick

                    The Melon Cups next to the big slide are fresh and delicious, especially on a hot day.

                    The milkshakes at the dairy barn (where you can watch the cows being milked three times a day).

                    Oh, I could go ona and on. The beef producers restaurant had a huge crowd waiting for their new Hot Beef Sundaes (mashed potatoes with a pot roast infused gravy on top and then sprinkled with cheddar cheese). It was, I thought, a major disappointment.

                    I also love the turkey nuggets at the Turkey Growers stand. People line up for the smoked turkey legs but I could never get into them.

                    The Cajun stand on the grand concourse has good food, too, but damn it is expensive. Speaking of expensive, the beers this year cost as much as $9. What's that all about? I love a cold beer or two but I could buy a 12 pack for that.

                    1. oh be sure to indulge in the beef sticks in the grandstand!

                      1. I've been to more county fairs but have still managed a fair number of state fairs including those in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin and Idaho. It's been a while since I've been to one (probably the Idaho fair in 2001) and sometimes it's hard for me to recall which food I had at which place, but in general, my favs include:

                        Fresh lemonade made on the spot and shaken vigorously over ice before pouring into my glass

                        Funnel cakes

                        Fried cheese curd

                        Fresh roasted sweet corn slathered in butter

                        Kettle corn (popcorn)

                        Fudge, fudge and more fudge

                        Salt water taffy

                        Homemade root beer

                        In Idaho, I'm quite fond of the frybread and soemthing they call Idaho scones -- basically it's funnel cake batter but fried up into tender lumps instead of a long stream of fried batter. I also like their corn dogs dipped in fry sauce (a mixture of ketchup and mayo).