Fairs, Festivals & Foods - Oh My!


Written on 4/27/2008 01:42:00 AM by Yvette St. John

It’s finally spring! Birds are singing, snow has melted, rain is falling, my basement is flooding. It’s finally here! After a LONG winter, it’s most welcome too. I’m enjoying going outside without a 10lb coat, hat, gloves, and scarf. (It took me 20 minutes just to get all that on in the mornings!) Spring always puts me in mind of beautiful weather, playing with my dog, and the start of the fair and festival season.

I love fairs. I love festivals. During the season there’s one going on pretty much every weekend, and I usually end up at one twice a month. So much fun to be had in one place. Games to play – and yes, I know they’re rigged for you to lose, but that’s not the point – rides to ride, and my favorite part: The food!

A few years ago I went to the Wisconsin State Fair, for the first time even though I’ve lived in Wisconsin for my whole life. The food is the main attraction there…well that and the farm animal judging and auctions (although that’s not my cup of tea). So the food. That’s what I went for. Spent the whole day there, walking around, looking at food, eating food, smelling the food. Yep. It was great.

I’m sure the foods are different everywhere, but here in Wisconsin the foods tend to focus around three main staples: Meat, Cheese, and Dessert. Oh! Can’t forget the beer!

For the meat, you can get steak sandwiches, porkchop on a stick, burgers, gyros, bison burritos, corn-dogs, and of course beer brats. I had the best pulled pork sandwich there. Messy as heck, but hey, I wasn’t there to keep my hands clean.

Cheese is on everything there. It’s added to the meats, the baked potatoes, and the chili-cheese fries. Then you’ve got the cheese-on-a-stick. Pretty good, although nothing compares to my absolute favorite fair food. Fried cheese curds. Battered, gooey, salty, hot and awesome. My mouth waters just thinking about them, and I can’t wait to get to the first fair to order some.

The last main staple is dessert. I think a lot of these are pretty normal at fairs. Funnel cake, elephant ears, and ice cream. The best one, and the one that I usually get the most of are the cream puffs. I stood in line for over 20 minutes with 200 other people, waiting to get to one of 15 windows that were serving them. Zig-zaging through a mile long line to get a heavenly treat that melts in your mouth. The first time I ever had them I made the mistake of only getting one. Then had to go back and stand in line to get a six-pack to-go box.

I’m usually stuffed by the time the day’s over. And that’s fine. I don’t eat for the next few days, and it’s well worth it. I’m already looking for the schedule of the fairs for this year.

So if I visit someplace during fair season, be assured I’ll be there! What are some of your favorites? What’s an absolute must try?

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