The Best State Fair Food in Every State
From life-size elephant ears to flirting-with-death burgers, fair food doesn't mess around. Make sure you don't miss these iconic foods at your state fair!
When it comes to over-the-top snacks and unique local finds, you can’t beat the state fair. Each state (and the District of Columbia) have their own claim to fame—everything from peanuts to pork chops and pickles to prime rib. Some of the state’s give a nod to their official state foods—and some go crazy. Find out what every state fair has to offer.
Boiled Peanuts: Alabama National Fair, October 4-14, 2019
It’s a state fair! Go a little nuts! While definitely an acquired taste, boiled peanuts are essential fair food in most southern states. Steve’s Famous P-Nuts sells both traditional boiled peanuts and a spicy version, if you can take the heat.
Reindeer Sausage: Alaska State Fair Inc., August 22-September 2, 2019
Shhh, don’t tell Santa! Reindeer sausage is a staple in many Alaskans’ diets, and it always makes an appearance at the Alaska State Fair, sold by vendors like Alaska Sausage and Seafood. Sample it in all its delicious forms, from spicy reindeer Polish dogs to reindeer sausage cheese melts. You’ll forget all about Rudolph when you bite into this delicious dish—we promise.
Navajo Tacos: Arizona State Fair, October 4-27, 2019
Voted the State Dish of Arizona, this is not your ordinary taco! The Navajo Taco is made with ground beef and pinto beans piled high with chile peppers and cheese, served on a fluffy and delicious piece of fry bread. Can’t wait until then? Make your own at home!
Thanksgiving Taco: Arkansas State Fair, October 11-20, 2019
Arkansas takes full advantage of its fall fair with this delightful treat. Pat’s Kitchen serves up these tacos, stuffed with turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce and dressing, served on a warm tortilla. The innovation and pure deliciousness won this food best tasting and most creative in 2017.
Dole Whip: California State Fair, July 12-28, 2019
This sunshine state holds its state fair smack-dab in the middle of summer, and with all that hot, hot summer sunshine you’re going to need some refreshment. Luckily, the Dole Whip is here to save the day. Stick to the classic pineapple, or venture out to the other flavors.
Mexican Funnel Cake: Colorado’s State Fair, August 23-September 2, 2019
Do you have what it takes to eat this monstrous pile of funnel cake in under 30 minutes? That’s the challenge set out for fair-goers, with a full refund for winners. You can also opt for the smaller version, a tamer pile of funnel cake and whipped cream.
Yes, you can make funnel cakes at home. Here’s how.
The Big Donut: The Durham Fair, September 27-30, 2019
While Connecticut doesn’t have a state fair, it does have the Durham Fair, one of the oldest agricultural events in the country. Celebrate that history with a doughnut that’s actually the size of your head! The Dough House serves up these massive donuts, and has been since 1943. Learn how to make super delicious doughnuts at home.
Delaware Dog: Delaware State Fair, July 18-27, 2019
What makes the Delaware Dog special? It’s all about the toppings. This hot dog is piled high with scrapple, which is made from pork meat that’s boiled and minced, mixed with flour and cornmeal and scooped up on top for the richest hot dog of your life. Looking for the best Delaware Dog in Delaware? According to People’s Magazine, Johnnie’s Dog House has the best in the state.
Psst! We bet you haven’t tried these super-delicious hot dog toppings yet.
Southern Catfish Sundae: Florida State Fair, February 6-17, 2020
You won’t be catfished by this sundae—it delivers all it promises. Delicious hand-cut french fries are topped with catfish fried in that specialty southern style, topped with some spicy remoulade or tartar sauce.
Catfish are bountiful in the Sunshine State—but do you have you tried Florida’s most iconic food?
Maple Bacon Sundae: Georgia State Fair, September 27-October 6, 2019
Ready for some over-sized desserts? How about enormous desserts topped with bacon? Salty and sweet, this maple bacon sundae just works on so many levels.
Lechon: E. K. Fernandez Shows, Inc., May 24-June 30, 2019
You’ll smell this traditional Filipino dish before you see it. Dick’s Lechon is super popular—made from crispy pork belly that is seasoned and minced, tossed with fish sauce, and then mixed with tomatoes and onions. This might just be the best pork you’ve ever tasted.
Toffee Tumbler: Eastern Idaho State Fair, August 30-Sept 7, 2019
This is the sweet treat you’ve been waiting for. Sweet Temptations serves up this delightful dessert, made out of sweet dough and rolled in sugar. After it’s cut and baked, they cover it in homemade caramel sauce, a healthy sprinkle of toffee bits and finish it off with some soft serve ice cream. Can you guess Idaho’s most popular ice cream flavor?
Slaw Dog: Illinois State Fair, August 8-18, 2019
Illinois takes its hot dogs seriously—look at Chicago’s hardcore stance against ketchup anywhere near their dogs. So 17th Street BBQ’s first place trophy in the Illinois State Fair Golden Abe food competition means that it’s gotta be pretty good.
Ready for some wacky hot dogs? These 20 recipes will spice up your hot dog game, figuratively and literally.
Dairy Bar Milkshakes: Indiana State Fair, August 2-18, 2019
These milkshakes are incredible, and they won’t even strain your budget! For $3.50, choose from strawberry, vanilla, chocolate or birthday cake. If “Winners Drink Milk,” then champions chug milkshakes. Right?
Feeling nostalgic? Here’s the most popular dessert from the year you were born.
Pork Chop Dinner: Iowa State Fair, August 8-18, 2019
If you’re at the Iowa state fair, you’ve got a lot to choose from. With over 200 vendors, their food selection is one of the biggest in the country. Whatever you do, make sure to stop by the Iowa Pork Producers for a delicious pork chop dinner. And afterwards, if you’re feeling adventurous, pop by The Bird’s Nest to test out their Pickle Beer.
Pronto Pup: Kansas State Fair, September 6-15, 2019
Since the 1960s, Pronto Pup has been serving up this Kansas State Fair staple. Definitively NOT corn dogs—they’re made with wheat, rice and barley flours rather than corn flour—it wouldn’t be a state fair without this classic.
Totchos: Kentucky State Fair, August 15-25, 2019
How do you like your potatoes? Savory or…sweet? Opt for Sivori Catering’s Totchos, a combination of tater tots and nachos topped with traditional nacho toppings or pulled pork, cheese and barbeque sauce, or get them as fried sweet potatoes smothered in caramel, maple syrup and marshmallows. Sounds like a three-course meal is in order.
Crawfish and Crab Boudin: State Fair of Louisiana, October 24-November 10, 2019
You didn’t come to the fair for just a little nibble. Behold, the foot-long sausage made of crab meat, crawfish, rice and some secret spices. Smoked up and served at Uncle Ray’s, it’s good. So so good.
W. A. Bean and Sons Red Snapper Hot Dogs: Bangor State Fair, July 25-August 3, 2019
No, this hot dog is not made out of fish. The iconic hot dog gets its name from its red hue, as well as its crispy natural casing that snaps when you take a big bite. Made right in Bangor, these are a Maine favorite. And the fair has a Red Snapper hot dog eating contest, obviously. Check out more iconic dishes from Maine.
Deep-Fried Berger Cookies: Maryland State Fair, August 22-September 2, 2019
Not saying it would be a crime to go to the Maryland Fair and not get some Berger cookies, but it definitely wouldn’t be good. In the fair spirit, Baltimore’s DeBaufre Bakery takes its famous Berger cookies, dips them in funnel cake batter, and deep fries the cookies to perfection. Have one. Or a thousand.
Big E Cream Puffs: The Big E, September 13-29, 2019
This enormous fair brings all six New England states together for one of the biggest county fairs in the U.S. You should definitely sample everything all the states have to offer, but save room for the most iconic food item at the Big E—the Big E Cream Puff. Made with heavy whipping cream and sprinkled with powdered sugar, these puffs go fast—over 40,000 are sold every year.
Cream puffs aren’t only for state fairs! Bring the delight to your kitchen with these recipes.
Chocolate Milk: Michigan State Fair, August 29-September 2, 2019
Free milk? Heck yeah. When you visit the Milking Cow Exhibit at the Michigan State Fair, you get a coupon for endless chocolate milk at the Guernsey Farms Dairy booth. While not totally free, it’s only $1 for your first pint, and every pint after that is on the house…er, barn?
Psst! Did you know there’s a secret code hiding on your gallon of milk? Learn how to crack it.
Sweet Martha’s Chocolate Chip Bucket: Minnesota State Fair, August 22-September 2, 2019
Everyone knows you don’t just get one small serving of Sweet Martha’s Chocolate Chip cookies—you get the whole bucket and don’t look back. Served hot, gooey and properly messy, Minnesotans swear by this fair tradition.
Porkychos: Mississippi State Fair, October 2-14, 2019
Like Nachos? Level up. These nachos from Smokey Gals are served with the traditional ingredients like barbecue pork and jalapenos, but unlike regular nachos they do away with the tortilla chips and pile everything on top of pork rinds. Beware, after sampling these, you might be ruined for other nachos for forever. Get more nachos in your life with these easy and delicious recipes.
Mizzou’s Tiger Stripe Ice Cream: Missouri State Fair, August 8-18, 2019
The University of Missouri Columbia’s Tiger Stripe ice cream is the (ice) cream of the crop. The flavor was designed to model the school’s colors as well as its mascot, with gold french vanilla swirled with realistic tiger stripes. Have a scoop. Or two. It’s for education!
Love ice cream? Learn how to make 2-ingredient ice cream bread.
Vikings On a Stick: Montana State Fair, July 26-August 3, 2019
Don’t worry, Minnesota football fans, it’s not that kind of Viking. The Viking is a Montana classic—deep-fried meatballs with secret spices, served up on a stick for walk-around consumption. Head over to the Sons of Norway booth for this speciality, served since 1966.
Beef Sandwich: Nebraska State Fair, August 23-September 2, 2019
While there are many temptations at the Nebraskan state fair, from fried Nutella to cowboy mignon, Nebraskans swear by the old stand-by beef sandwich from Cattlemen’s Beef Pit. Super hungry? They serve entire beef dinners.
Deep Fried Candy: Nevada State Fair, June 6-9, 2019
This fair only lasts a few days, so you better not be wasting any time! You could keep your energy up with sensible food, but candy sounds way more fun, right? This state fair offers up a whole host of candy—all obviously deep fried. Think deep fried Oreos, Snickers and even Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Apple Crisp and Apple Cider Donuts: Hopkinton State Fair, August 30-September 2, 2019
Right on the cusp of fall, this state fair is the perfect opportunity to indulge in some autumnal favorites, like the apple crisp and apple cider donuts from Pat’s. Highly recommended? Popping a scoop of ice cream on top of that crisp.
Rainbow Kettle Corn: New Jersey State Fair, August 2-11, 2019
Take a break from all that fried food and head to Jeff’s Kettle Corn for wacky flavors like salty bacon-cheddar or triple chocolate. The crowd-favorite though is definitely the delightfully sweet and colorful Rainbow Corn.
Green Chile Cheeseburger: New Mexico State Fair, September 5-15, 2019
Each year, top chefs try to win it all with their version of the green chile cheeseburger. The burger is a New Mexico specialty, and the competition is fierce. Can’t get enough of the burger during the fair? There’s a Green Chile Cheeseburger trail that will lead you to all the best restaurants serving up the burger in New Mexico.
New York Harvester: The Great New York State Fair, August 22-September 2, 2019
Depending on your view of astronomically-sized sandwiches, Fried Specialities is either the best or worst thing to happen to the New York State Fair. Their newest creation is the New York Harvester, which is served on thick sourdough with turkey, mashed potatoes, bacon, and stuffing—all deep fried. Finished off with some cranberry and cheese, it comes out weighing about two pounds.
Surpisingly, this burger does not make it onto the list of 15 foods nutritionists eat every day.
NC Low Country Boil: The North Carolina State Fair, October 17-27, 2019
Like a New England clambake, but also not, a low country boil features fresh shellfish with vegetables like potatoes and corn on the cob, and boils it with andouille sausage. The whole thing gets doused in some Old Bay seasoning and is served with cocktail sauce. Yes, you should definitely be using your hands.
Minneapple Pie: North Dakota State Fair, July 19-27, 2019
These small hand pies are stuffed with apples, deep fried and sprinkled with some cinnamon sugar. Some cinnamon ice cream balances out the piping hot pie. These are pure, beautiful little crescents of joy.
Bacon-Wrapped Buckeyes: Ohio State Fair, July 24-August 4, 2019
Show your support for the Ohio State Buckeyes, and then eat that support! Peanut butter, chocolate, and of course bacon all combine for a salty-sweet snack fans and rivals can all agree is pretty tasty.
Honey Pepper Bacon Dog: Oklahoma State Fair, September 12-22, 2019
This award-winning hot dog takes a frankfurter and splits it open, stuffing the sausage with cheese. The whole thing is topped with bacon that’s seasoned to be both sweet and spicy, with a nice toasty bun.
Did you know you can bake bacon? Here’s how.
Apple Pie Fries: Oregon State Fair, August 23-September 2, 2019
Sweet Apple Pie Fries took the American classic and made it better. Started by Portland’s own Niki Durig, the dish consists of apple slices battered and fried, topped with cinnamon and sugar, and a final dousing of whipped cream and caramel.
Bissinger’s Apple Dumplings: Bloomsburg Fair, September 21-28, 2019
While not a state fair, Bloomsburg does have Bissinger’s Apple Dumplings. The long line is worth the wait for these delicious apple dumplings, which are made right in front of you and should most definitely be accompanied by some ice cream.
Pickles: Washington County Fair, August 14-18, 2019
The Washington County Fair is also technically not state fair. However, the Washington County fair has been the largest agricultural event in Rhode Island for fifty years. A must-have? Pickles! Choose between crispy deep-fried slices, or the giant half-sour pickles. Made without vinegar, these bright, crunchy treats and served chilled. Call it your vegetable for the day!
Shrimp and Grits Sundae: South Carolina State Fair, October 9-20, 2019
Who says sundaes have to be sweet? This shrimp and grits sundae is even garnished with a cherry, albeit a cherry tomato. DeAnna’s Food Concessions will be serving up this newest rendition of shrimp and grits in all its portable, strange glory.
Unconventional Brats: South Dakota State Fair, August 29-September 2, 2019
Tired of regular brats? Excellent. The Chuck Wagon at the South Dakota State Fair has a number of strange brats on the roster, including elk, wild boar, alligator, buffalo and even rattlesnake. Are you brave enough?
Have you tried South Dakota’s most iconic dish yet?
Deep Fried Goo-Goo Clusters: Tennessee State Fair, September 6-15, 2019
Everyone’s going gaga over Goo-Goo. Deep-fried Goo-Goo clusters, to be specific. The chocolate covered treat is filled with marshmallow, caramel and roasted peanuts, and the deep-fryer makes for an especially gooey Goo-Goo. Need something to wash it down? In true Tennessee fashion, a stand sells sweet tea in 32 ounce containers, with $1 refills available. You’ll need it.
Fletcher’s Corny Dog: State Fair of Texas, September 27-October 20, 2019
While all fairs have corn dogs, not all can boast to be the home of the original corn dog. Carl and Neil Fletcher have laid claim to the title since 1942. They’re extremely popular and, apparently, life-giving—college football fans call them the “breakfast of champions.”
King-Size Turkey Legs: Utah State Fair, September 5-15, 2019
Hawaiian Vilo Vilo Chicken doesn’t mess around. The stand sells chicken and pulled pork, but the main draw are the enormous turkey legs. The seasoning is a family secret, but the fact that it’s delicious is very, very public.
Willie’s BBQ: The Vermont State Fair, August 13-17, 2019
Longtime favorite Sally’s BBQ was recently purchased and renamed, but it’s still serving up the ever-popular charcoal-cooked beef, pork and ham to hungry fair crowds.
Think barbecues are all bad for your health? Think again. These BBQ foods are actually good for you.
Crabtastic Po’Boy: State Fair of Virginia, September 27-October 6, 2019
Despite the name, there’s nothing really poor about this po’boy. The Crabtastic Po’Boy was a finalist for Virginia’s 2017 Best Fair Food, and for good reason. Created by Phat Boyz Catering, the sandwich is made with mini crab cakes and a jumbo soft shell crab, topped with tomato, lettuce and a seafood aioli and served up on a roll sprinkled with Old Bay seasoning.
Chili: Washington State Fair, September 8, 2019
While you certainly will have to wait in line to get your piping hot scone from Fisher, it’s worth it. Fair-goers swear by its delicious, nostalgia-inducing powers. Just make sure the fair’s mascot Big Washington, more commonly known as Bigfoot, doesn’t steal your scone when you’re not looking!
Chili: DC State Fair, August 30-September 22, 2019
This one-day fair celebrates all things homemade and homegrown from the District of Columbia. There are plenty of vendors to check out, but if you’re not faint of heart, you may want to enter a contest instead. Kids can try their hands at an ice cream eating contest. Adults, give the chili eating contest a go—then cool down at the watermelon seed spitting match.
Cinnamon Rolls: State Fair of West Virginia, August 8-17, 2019
For almost 30 years, Dave Naeyaert at Cinn-Sational Cinnamon Rolls has been selling clamoring crowds some really exceptional cinnamon rolls. It’s become a family tradition, both for fair-goers and for his family, who take pride in the high quality of their rolls year after year.
Cream Puffs: Wisconsin State Fair, August 1-11, 2019
As America’s Dairyland and home to award-winning cheeses, you might expect fried cheese curds to be Wisconsin’s top fair pick. That’s not the case, though! The stand that draws the longest lines at this fair is for cream puffs. The Wisconsin Bakers Association has been baking and filling these treats by the hundreds since 1924. You can try them at home!
Prime Rib Sandwiches: Wyoming State Fair, August 13-17, 2019
Before heading to the rodeo, make sure to sample this classic Wyoming sandwich along with your funnel cakes and collection of deep-fried treats.
You don’t need a state fair to have the food! Recreate your favorites in your own kitchen.