The most outrageous state fair foods

Nothing says America like a wholesome state fair. And what’s more wholesome – or American – than filling your gullet with mounds of fried, sticky, salty, and/or sweet junk foods?

Beyond the carnival rides and the livestock judging contests, state fairs have always served as quasi-laboratories for American-style street food. In fact, the now-ubiquitous corn dog was first introduced to the public in the early 1940s at a state fair, though which one is still up for debate. The Texas State Fair, aka the “Fried Food Capital of Texas®”, and the Minnesota State Fair both lay claim to this distinctly American treat.

Each year, state fair food vendors try to outdo each other – and intrigue the crowds – with new belly-busting concoctions, usually inspired by local fare. For instance, dairy state Iowa features a deep-fried stick of butter at the Iowa State Fair, while the Texas State Fair has served up fried cookie dough and fried beer. The bigger and more artery-clogging the better when it comes to state fair foods. Here is just a sampling of some of the state fair foods Gadling found to be truly outrageous.


Geography lessons: Can you draw a map of the U.S. as well as Al Franken?

Watching Minnesota senator Al Franken draw a map of the United States reminded me of 7th grade. Back then at Olympia Jr. High in Columbia, South Carolina, I had one of those social studies teachers who handed out blank pieces of paper and had us draw a map with every new unit. Perhaps you, Gadling reader, learned geography in a similar fashion.

For example, if we were going to study Europe, we would open our books to the map of Europe and replicate it as best we could. Countries were to be drawn to scale, colored a different color than the ones they bordered, and include major mountain chains and bodies of water. By the end of the year, the world had become a grand kaleidoscope that I could picture with my eyes closed.

Even though I’ve traveled to many of the places I’ve drawn, I couldn’t replicate those maps from scratch–not without looking at a picture at the same time. Can you? Al Franken can.

Senator Franken can draw the United States like nobody’s business. He showed off this talent at the Minnesota State Fair this summer. I wonder who his social studies teacher was? I’m impressed. Watch to see what I mean. . .

Fair Food On a Stick: 59 Choices

Pair the words “fair food” with “stick,” and I think corn dogs. How pedestrian! How normal! How so early 1940s. That’s how long corn dogs have been fair food according to the corn dog history lesson at Food Services of America.

These days, the options for what you can lick, bite, chew, nibble or chaw on as you wander through the Midway or take in stellar entertainment options like pot-bellied pig races are dizzying. Here’s a video “Minnesota State Fair on a Stick” that serves as an ode to a summer and fall of not-so-healthy eating. The variety of people featured are as varied as the food. Unfortunately, this fair ended on Labor Day, but if you head to any fair or festival there’s bound to be food on sticks.