Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Heart-Stopping U.S. Food Festivals



Fairgoers enjoy the sights, sounds and food at the Kentucky State Fair. Photo: Ray Laskowitz/Superstock/Corbis

State fairs are traditional summertime family attractions across the United States. With agricultural themes, rodeos, carnival rides, and music, they’re also notorious for their artery-clogging food. The national winner in the latter category is the Texas State Fair, which attracts 2.6 million visitors every September to a competition for the most “original” deep-fried concoctions. Some examples of past specialties include fried beer—created by injecting beer into salty pretzel-like dough and deep frying it—fried bacon cinnamon rolls, fried pizza, and even fried cheesecake.

Florida’s Tampa State Fair is a close runner-up. Its offerings have included a “milkshake burger,” a cheeseburger topped with deep-fried ice cream. For the more adventurous eater, in Alameda, California, there are chocolate-covered scorpions. At the California State Fair in Pleasanton, a popular dish was raccoon on a stick. However, the showstopper last year might just have been the Alameda County Fair’s 777-pound burger, which took a 10-person crew 13 hours to cook.

View a slideshow of U.S. county fair food.

Like what you've read? Subscribe to AQ for more.
Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
Sign up for our free newsletter