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America's Wacky Fair Foods

Posted: 07/06/11 04:30 PM ET

Cotton candy, corn dogs and candy apples once ruled the midway at the local fair, but visitors now want food that's exotic—as long as it's on a stick, or more importantly, fried. From health-defying anomalies like fried dough injected with Pepsi to squirm-inducing chocolate-dipped scorpions, the new sideshow is food.

Here, Food & Wine presents 25 of America's Wacky Fair Foods.

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  • North Carolina: Kool-Aid Pickles

    <blockquote><strong>Raleigh • Oct. 13–23</strong></blockquote> <blockquote>Also known as Koolickles, pickles soaked in the sugary kids' beverage are a Southern tradition—and a sweet-and-sour snack at North Carolina's annual state fair.</blockquote> <blockquote><strong>Plus: <a href="" target="_hplink">More Fantastic Pickles</a></strong></blockquote> <blockquote> <em>Photo © <a href="" target="_hplink"></a>.</em></blockquote>

  • Indiana: Hot Beef Sundae

    <blockquote><strong>Indianapolis &#8226; Aug. 5&#8211;21</strong></blockquote> <blockquote>When state fairgoers tired of the iconic rib eye steak sandwich, Indiana&#39;s Beef Cattle Association invented the Hot Beef Sundae, layered with mashed potatoes, marinated beef, gravy, cheese, corn &#34;sprinkles&#34; and a cherry (tomato).</blockquote> <blockquote><strong>Plus: <a href="" target="_hplink">Delicious Beef Recipes</a></strong></blockquote> <blockquote><em>Photo &#169; <a href="" target="_hplink">Tom Coates</a>.</em></blockquote>

  • Arizona: Mealworm-Covered Caramel Apples

    <blockquote><strong>Phoenix &#8226; Oct. 14&#8211;Nov. 6</strong></blockquote> <blockquote> Along with deep-fried crickets, the Arizona Exposition &#38; State Fair&#39;s Chef du&#39; Jour booth sells caramel apples dipped in mealworms.</blockquote> <blockquote><strong>Plus: <a href="" target="_hplink">Worm-Free Apple Recipes</a></strong></blockquote> <blockquote><em>Photo &#169; Courtesy of Chef John of Chef du&#39;Jour.</em></blockquote>

  • Florida: Cheeseburger with Fried Ice Cream

    <blockquote><strong>Tampa &#8226; Feb. 9&#8211;20</strong></blockquote> <blockquote>One Florida State Fairgoer rationalized the appeal of a cheeseburger topped with deep-fried ice cream by describing the salty-sweet hybrid as a &#34;milk-shake burger.&#34;</blockquote> <blockquote><strong>Plus: <a href="" target="_hplink">More Fried Foods</a></strong></blockquote> <blockquote><em>Photo &#169; Courtesy of Dennis and Cheryl Reas. </em></blockquote>

  • Texas: Fried Beer

    <blockquote><strong>Dallas &#8226; Sep. 30&#8211;Oct. 23</strong></blockquote> <blockquote>Even alcohol can be fried when it&#39;s pocketed in pretzel dough. The food innovation won the 2010 Big Tex Choice Awards at the Texas State Fair.</blockquote> <blockquote><strong>Plus: <a href="" target="_hplink">Cooking with Beer</a></strong></blockquote> <blockquote><em>Photo &#169; <a href="" target="_hplink">Amanda Gillispie</a>.</em></blockquote>

  • Montana: Fried Butter Balls

    <blockquote><strong>Great Falls &#8226; Jul. 29&#8211;Aug. 6</strong></blockquote> <blockquote> While the Montana State Fair is famous for its Big Sky ProRodeo Roundup, Paula Deen wannabes and other fried-food enthusiasts head for the deep-fried butter balls.</blockquote> <blockquote><strong> Plus: <a href="" target="_hplink">More Comfort Foods</a></strong></blockquote> <blockquote><em> Photo &#169; <a href="" target="_hplink">Heather Leah Kennedy</a>.</em></blockquote>

  • California: Deep-Fried White Castle Burgers

    <blockquote><strong>Costa Mesa &#8226; Jul. 15&#8211;Aug. 14</strong></blockquote> <blockquote>The Orange County Fair is so dedicated to frying that a vendor called Heart Attack Caf&#233; chose Deep Fried Butter Stand as its new name after being pressured with legal action by Arizona&#39;s Heart Attack Grill. Even more stupendous: Chicken Charlie&#39;s fried White Castle cheeseburgers (bun and all). </blockquote> <blockquote>Plus: <a href="" target="_hplink">Best Burgers in the U.S.</a></blockquote> <blockquote><em>Photo &#169; <a href="" target="_hplink">JoAnn Maxwell Stougaard</a>.</em></blockquote>

  • Kansas: Pickle Pop

    <blockquote><strong>Hutchinson &#8226; Sep. 9&#8211;18</strong></blockquote> <blockquote>The Kansas State Fair&#39;s answer to a freezer pop&#8212;filled with briny pickle juice&#8212;is a chilling, supersour pairing for the region's famous <a href="" target="_hplink">barbecue</a>.</blockquote> <blockquote> <strong>Plus: <a href="" target="_hplink">F&#38;W&#39;s Frozen Desserts</a></strong></blockquote> <blockquote> <em>Photo &#169; <a href="" target="_hplink">Harper Reed</a>.</em></blockquote>

  • Massachusetts: Fried Jelly Beans

    <blockquote><strong>West Springfield &#8226; Sep. 16&#8211;Oct. 2</strong></blockquote> <blockquote>The Big E (a nickname for the Massachusetts State Fair) doesn't force a choice between candy and funnel cake. These jelly beans are dipped in batter before being deep-fried.</blockquote> <blockquote><strong> Plus: <a href="" target="_hplink">All-American Desserts</a></strong></blockquote> <blockquote><em>Photo &#169; <a href="" target="_hplink">Melissa Rebelo</a>.</em></blockquote>

  • Wisconsin: Irish Stew on a Stick

    <blockquote><strong>West Allis &#8211; Aug. 4&#8211;14</strong></blockquote> <blockquote>Proving that even soup can be reimagined to fit on a stick, Slim McGinn&#39;s stand at the Wisconsin State Fair serves Irish Stew in a pastry shell for a portable, utensil-free meal.</blockquote> <blockquote><strong><a href="" target="_hplink">Click Here for 15 More of America’s Wacky Fair Foods</a></strong></blockquote> <blockquote><em>Photo &#169; Brian Jacobson.</em></blockquote>


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