Monday, October 20, 2014

The State Fair report, 2014

Long-time readers of this blog know that our family goes to the North Carolina State Fair for the food.  Sure, we like walking around, we love looking at the various animals, and some of us even go on a ride now and again, but most of all we're there to sample the Fair's many food offerings.  A few years ago, I came up with a new, expensive but ultimately less fattening system:  fast for about 18 hours ahead of time, buy everything I want to sample, and take one or at most two bites, then share it with others.  This approach has let me try a ton of stuff at the Fair and not gain any weight from doing so.  (Standing and walking around the Fair for five hours also helps, of course.)

This year's outing began with the traditional pretzel dog.

Click an image to see a larger version.

Equally traditional and from the same vendor is Sarah's start-of-Fair pretzel, which she models here--and lets me eat a bite of.

A Diet Coke is, of course (there was no Coke Zero on offer), the walking-around beverage of choice.

A new vendor, Big Daddy's, contributed Scott's traditional turkey leg, which he also gives me a bite of,

and this rather tasty brisket sandwich.

I didn't eat anything from this vendor, but I loved the name, Bacon Ray's, so much, that I had to share its image with you.

At our next stop, this fryer was in heavy action at times, though here it is hosting only a few dough-covered goodies.

Those goodies included the Twinx, a surprisingly tasty concoction you build by stuffing a Twix candy bar inside a Twinkie, wrapping that in bacon, deep-frying the whole thing, and coating it in sugar.

It really was tasty, though one bite was plenty for me.  My nibble of the equally deep-fried and sugar-coated fried Oreos was also good.

A bite of a salty ham biscuit served as an excellent palate cleanser after all the sweets.

One of our non-food traditions is a visit to see the bears.  Yes, they're captive in small rooms, and yes, they're probably sad, but sometimes they are amazing to behold, as this lax bear was. 

A relaxed bear on a tire swing is a very cool sight indeed.

I'm not a chicken fan, but we always check them out, and I always find some amazing ones.  For example, the mere name "Bufflaced Polish" cracks me up, and their heads are equally entertaining. 

The cinnamon-sugar mini-donuts are another Fair staple, and they are yummy indeed.

McBride's Concessions, a Fair vendor that's been around for years, switched in 2014 to handmade onion rings using a recipe from the mother of one of the owners and a housemade dipping sauce.

The sauce was okay, but the onion rings were great, among the best I've tasted.

Scott's polish sausage hoagie with peppers, onions, and cheese was everything it should be.

So, too, were the fried bologna-and-cheese sandwich (don't hate until you taste it)

and the grilled cheese on white bread.

Oh, yeah, the bread is indeed that soaked with butter.

Did I mention giant pumpkins and watermelons?

Always a crowd-pleaser, and just kind of amazing in that "wow, people do anything and everything" sort of way. 

I forgot to take a picture of the cherry vanilla N.C. State ice cream I sampled.  I love that ice cream, and I get it only once a year at the Fair.

As we were wandering away from the ice cream, we ran cross these two fine hot dogs. 

Someday, the Motorized Hot Dog Throne of Doom will exist!

Back on the food front, another of the Fair's new offerings, the deep-fried Bananas Foster, met with mixed reviews, with banana-lovers enjoying it and banana-haters finding it disgusting. 

I thought it was pretty tasty, but I do enjoy bananas.

By the time we reached the deep-fried cupcakes, which Sarah models here,

many folks were done in, but not all of us.  Those who tried them found them basically to be fried dough, okay but no better.

All of us agreed that as disturbing as the phrase "WALK AWAY NUT SUNDAE" was, the face in the ice cream cone above it was creepier.

Sarah, Ben, and Ronnie,

as well as others in our group, rode the swings and had a grand time doing so.  I always find the ceiling of the swings to be a little trippy.

The "WIGGLE WURM":  friendly, or creepy?

I'm going with creepy.

This gentleman doesn't seem to be very happy to be at work,

but if I ever need a porn-star name, I could do a lot worse than "Jumbo Long Dogs."

A blooming onion

and a classic grilled hot dog with cheese

brought the Fair food odyssey to a close.

As we were leaving, we caught the nightly fireworks show, which was particularly gorgeous this year.  Gina took a lot of great photographs of the show, so to wrap up this huge entry, let me leave you with just a small sample of those lovely shots.


Rosanne said...

Gorgeous pics of the fireworks! I haven't been the fair in years. The one special thing I liked to get was something called an "elephant ear"; fried dough dipped in butter and topped w/ sugar and cinnamon. We only went a few times when the kids were very young, and the four of us would share a meal from a place a church group ran that had fried chicken (2 or 3 pieces, not sure), a ham biscuit, some pulled pork, green beans and maybe fries. It's been so long I can't remember exactly what the meal contained for certain. Glad y'all had fun!

Mark said...

All of those foods sound good. Thanks for the kind words.

Rosanne said...

Realized this is the second fair post of yours I have seen, and that I probably wrote a similar comment previously Time flies!

Was that a Digemon T-shirt someone was wearing?

Posted my thoughts about a comment on a Times op-ed piece that David B. Coe had written that wound up showing on my FB page. Getting braver about expressing my thoughts, I guess. :)

Hope you and family have an awesome week!

Mark said...

I think that might have been a Smash Bros. shirt, but it also might have been Digemon; not sure.

Good job getting braver!

Michelle said...

I wasn't really interested until the Twinx. Yum. Damn, our fair has nothing like this. But, we do have a deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich coated with powdered sugar, kind of like a low end Monte Cristo. I am quite impressed that you were able to hold off to only one bite per item.

Mark said...

I would try that sandwich.

Holding back is easy when you know you'll get to sample so many things.

Deb said...

The twix in a Twinkie sounds delicious. Then I used to love chocodiles; twinkies coated in chocolate. Sadly, it was a fair and the octopus which put me off chocodiles. ;)

Mark said...

And therein, I suspect, lies a nasty tale.


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