As is our tradition, a group of us went to the State Fair this past Thursday night to walk around, bask in the neon glow, check out the people and rides and animals and vegetables, and most of all, to try the weird food on offer there. For the second straight year, I followed my "one bite" plan: Try as many dishes as I wanted, but eat only one bite of each and share the rest with others in the group. It worked well enough that after four hours of walking around, I left the Fair happy but not over-stuffed.
Enough talk: Let's get to the food.
Scott had ordered a funnel cake, so I had a bite of it to start my Fair experience.
Sarah began with her traditional pretzel, so I took a bite of it as well.
I ordered and shared the pretzel dog, which provided its usual yummy doughy meaty bite of goodness.
The brisket sandwich really needed sauce but was otherwise okay, though no better.
Next up was a taste of Gina's fried cheese (in this case, mozzarella).
How could we possibly improve on last year's Krispy Kreme cheeseburger?
By adding bacon, of course.
I have only myself to blame for ordering it, but fortunately, others were brave enough to share it.
I next found myself face-to-donut with the newest Fair sensation: The Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe. Seeing it in person, I could not bring myself to buy it and put even a single bite into my mouth; it just didn't look good. So, with a little regret, I walked on by.
Scott consoled me with a bite of his chocolate-covered cheesecake-on-a-stick.
Sarah's deep-fried mac-and-cheese bites were not what one would normally serve after cheesecake, but I was game, and my nibble was tasty.
The cheese-covered, locally made, spicy hot dog (really a sausage), on the other hand, was a perfect next stopping point.
After walking a bit, another sweet treat was clearly in order, so Sarah stepped up by ordering and sharing the mini donuts with cinnamon and sugar.
Those little rascals are reliably good year after year.
I enjoyed my traditional North Carolina State cherry vanilla ice cream, but I forgot to take a picture of it; sorry about that.
I did, however, capture the buttered corn-on-the-cob that Ticia later shared.
On a brisk autumn night, hot corn-on-the-cob is a delight.
Lest it seem that all I did was eat, let me share a few more Fair images, many of them courtesy of Gina.
This combo didn't appeal to me, but I loved the sign.
How can you not like a vendor that will sell you a calzone and then give you a wedgie?
I didn't risk walking near that stand.
Huge watermelon, anyone?
That would take even our beach crew a while to consume.
The melon, though, was a tiny baby compared to this year's winning pumpkin, which tipped the scales just a hair below 800 pounds.
We are talking one giant pumpkin, folks.
No pumpkin could be bigger, of course, than Elvis, though this statue doesn't do him justice, and I'm not commenting on his weight.
This cow's serenity brought us all back to the moment, which the cow seemed to inhabit perfectly.
Be the cow, Luke, be the cow.
What's a state fair without a best-of-show-winning mermaid cake?
Not the North Carolina State Fair, that's for sure.
Some folks rode the flying swings.
I did not, preferring instead to keep my feet on the ground.
Did I mention the amazing fireworks show that capped the evening as we were about to get into our cars?
Okay, one more fireworks photo.