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The unique treat is just one of thirty new additions to the food line-up at this year's North Carolina State Fair. 

David Landsel
October 10, 2017

Want to make a North Carolina native's day? Chances are, it's as simple as handing them an ice-cold Cheerwine. Bright red, bubbly and with a hint of wild cherry, Cheerwine is as North Carolina as it comes. Conceived of a century ago and still locally-owned, you'll find the soda (no, it's not actually wine) on sale all over the state.

When the gates swing open to the fairgrounds in Raleigh this coming Thursday, the million-plus visitors to North Carolina's annual state fair will find a whole other way to get down with one of their favorite flavors—say hello to the Cheerwine funnel cake. How to best describe this thing of beauty? Well, it's a funnel cake, topped with powdered sugar, as you do; except that the cake itself is bright red, thanks to the addition of—you guessed it—Cheerwine.

Hold your applause, however, because this brightly colored spin on a fairground classic is just one of thirty new food offerings being unveiled at the fair this year, because what's a state fair without a ton of state fair food to talk about, right? Before you dig into that funnel cake, you might consider another, almost glow-in-the-dark dish that's being rolled out this year—roasted corn, slathered in mayonnaise and covered with Flamin' Hot Cheetos. 

Other new offerings might be slightly less in your face (or, more to the point, all over your face), but there's plenty more eyebrow-raising fare that ought to make certain other fairs known for their food sit up and pay attention—crab cake cheese curds, a Thanksgiving dinner egg roll, and some sweet, sweet, fried pie action. (Who knew, for example, that deep fried key lime pie bites are a thing? They will be here, that's for sure.)   

Not that the new menu is one long culinary dare—there are actually a number of relatively civilized offerings from local restaurateurs, ranging from a lamb burger to jerk barbecue ribs, arepas, bacon-wrapped scallops on a stick, as well as firecracker shrimp (yes, fried, it's a fair, after all), served up over crispy, cold, Asian slaw.