Sunday, June 10, 2012

County and State Fairs

Cotton Candy
This morning I woke up with the Fuzzy One curled around my head.  It felt like my face was smooshed in a pillow of cotton candy.  That got me thinking about county fairs, midways with scary rides, church food stands, nightly performances, demolition derbies, and barns filled with 4-H projects.  In a couple of weeks the gates will open, and kids from 9 to 90 will stand in line at the concession stands waiting for something fun to eat.

When my buddy and I were dating, my absolute favorite county fair food was the foot-long hot dog with ketchup and onions. Funny thing, tho, back in those days the hot dog was truly a foot long.  Somewhere over the years the vendor's ruler shortened to about 8", and the intrigue just isn't there anymore.

What Are the Top 10 State Fair Foods?
  1. Deep-Fried Everything, from pickles to butter.  The unofficial motto among fair vendors is "If you can fry it, you can eat it."
  2. Funnel cakes, those insanely delicious fried cakes sprinkled with powdered sugar.  They're usually served on a paper plate....the same size as the plate.
  3. Pies....pie-eating contests and pie-baking contests.  Who can eat the most?  Whose pie tastes the best? 
  4. Sticky Caramel Apples.  
  5. Cotton Candy, spun sugar first known as "Fairy Floss" when served at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.
  6. The Bizarre, crazy concoctions.  For instance:  Kool-Aid Pickles, Krispie Kreme Burgers, or Hot Beef Sundaes (beef smothered with gravy, topped with a scoop of mashed potatoes, melted cheese, and a cherry tomato on top).
  7. Corn on the Cob.  An ear of grilled corn in the husk, peeled down, slathered with butter, and sprinkles of salt.
  8. Elephant Ears.  Flattened fried dough, butter, sugar, and cinnamon, big as an elephant's ear.  In some parts of the country, this is known as "Beaver's Tail."
  9. Corn dogs.  A wiener encased in a thick layer of deep-fried cornmeal batter.
  10. Food on a Stick.  Everything from a pork chop to a peanut-butter-jelly sandwich.
Remember the Tom Thumb Donuts? Lordie Gordie, we would watch the mini hot fresh cinnamon-sugar donuts being cranked out on a machine and served in small paper sacks.  Nothing was more fun than walking the midway eating warm donuts.

Hubby and I have a county fair memory that goes back to the first one we attended together.  I was 17, he was 18.  Of all frickin' things, he successfully got me through the gate on a "children's ticket."  He thought it was funny.  I didn't.  Little did I know that his silly prank was the beginning of a carnival ride that would twirl us through a lifetime together.