America's Wacky Fair Foods
Indiana: Hot Beef Sundae
When state fairgoers tired of the iconic rib eye steak sandwich, Indiana's Beef Cattle Association invented the Hot Beef Sundae, layered with mashed potatoes, marinated beef, gravy, cheese, corn "sprinkles" and a cherry (tomato).
Texas: Fried Beer
Even alcohol can be fried when it's pocketed in pretzel dough. The food innovation won the 2010 Big Tex Choice Awards at the Texas State Fair.
Montana: Fried Butter Balls
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.
Kansas: Pickle Pop
The Kansas State Fair's answer to a freezer pop—filled with briny pickle juice—is a chilling, supersour pairing for the region's famous barbecue.
California: Python Kebabs
After realizing that visitors to the California Exposition & State Fair wanted more adventurous foods, vendor George Sandefur changed his offerings from chicken to foods that "taste like chicken." Grilled python kebabs seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, Old Bay and lemon-pepper are a new favorite.
Massachusetts: Fried Jelly Beans
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.
Wisconsin: Elvis on a Stick
The Slim McGinn's stand at the Wisconsin State Fair pays homage to legendary musician Elvis Presley and his love for excess with a portable dessert called Elvis on a Stick: a deep fried banana-battered peanut butter cup with bacon.
Florida: Cheeseburger with Fried Ice Cream
One Florida State Fairgoer rationalized the appeal of a cheeseburger topped with deep-fried ice cream by describing the salty-sweet hybrid as a "milk-shake burger."
Ohio: Chocolate-Covered Bacon on a Stick
Known as "a muddy pig," chocolate-covered bacon on a stick isn't new to fairgrounds, but the Ohio State Fair gilds the salty-sweet construction with a candied cherry.
Alaska: Reindeer Sausage
Alaska's State Fair celebrates the sunny season with grilled local reindeer sausages and a giant-cabbage contest. The current record of 139 pounds was set in 2012.
Minnesota: Spaghetti and Meatballs on a Stick
The Minnesota State Fair (a.k.a. The Great Minnesota Get-Together) serves everything from candy apples to camel meat on a stick. To transform an iconic Italian dish into a portable novelty, spaghetti is mixed into a meatball, which is then cooked, battered, fried, skewered and rolled in marinara sauce.
Alabama: Krispy Kreme Hamburgers
The doughnut burger at the Alabama State Fair features a quarter-pound hamburger, bacon, cheese and two glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts in place of a single bun. The monstrosity contains nearly 1,100 calories and 67 grams of fat.
North Carolina: Kool-Aid Pickles
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.
Illinois: Alligator on a Stick
After enjoying some gator antics at the State Fair's Swampmaster Alligator Show, visitors can sample the entertainment, deep-fried, on a stick.
Arkansas: Deep-Fried Egg on a Stick
While other fairs fry liquids and supersize burgers, the Arkansas State Fair exalted the simple hard-boiled egg with a dunk in batter and oil and a selection of dipping sauces, like jalapeño-ranch and sweet-and-sour.
California: Deep-Fried White Castle Burgers
The Orange County Fair is so dedicated to frying that a vendor called Heart Attack Café chose Deep Fried Butter Stand as its new name after being pressured with legal action by Arizona's Heart Attack Grill. Even more stupendous: Chicken Charlie's fried White Castle cheeseburgers (bun and all) at the 2011 fair.
New York: Kangaroo Spiedies
The Great New York State Fair, the oldest in the US, spotlights a local sandwich specialty known as a spiedie, featuring marinated cubes of grilled meat on a soft Italian roll. While chicken, lamb, or beef is a common filling, kangaroo loin made an exotic replacement at 2011's event.
Oregon State Fair in 2011 was home to a flattened, deep-fried dough delicacy that just looks like it tried to cross the road at the wrong time, complete with oozing fruity sauces and syrups.
California: Chocolate-Covered Scorpions
At the Alameda County Fair, raccoon on a stick was barely adventurous compared to crunchy, chocolate-covered scorpions—though the dessert was no longer poisonous.
Oklahoma: Deep-Fried Mashed Potatoes on a Stick
At the state fair in Tulsa, bacon-cheddar mashed potatoes are formed into balls before being beer-battered, fried and served on a stick with ranch dressing.
South Carolina: Fried Pepsi
Pepsi was created in North Carolina, but it's hardly recognizable in South Carolina, where state fair vendors injected fried dough with Pepsi syrup and topped the result with powdered sugar and more syrup.
Iowa's annual state fair prides itself on big animals: The Big Boar, the Largest Rabbit, the Heaviest Pigeon. The diminutive Octo-Dog is just another mutant food. Sliced so its strips curl up during cooking, a hot dog is then speared with a straw for easy pick-up and served on a "sandy floor" of macaroni.
Hawaii: Chicken-Fried Bacon
The Maui County Fair is home to local specialties like poi (made from taro), banana lumpia (similar to spring rolls) and tuna poke (like tartare), but vendors nod to mainland tastes with chicken-fried bacon.