During the summer, the Missouri State Fair inevitably tops "Chow-Time Lists." The delicious smells of fair food: the sweetness of spun sugar, the savory tang of barbecue on smoked meat, the sour bite of freshly squeezed lemonade. Nirvana.
In preparation for this year's Missouri State Fair, which runs August 8-18, check out these must-try offerings.
Missouri Grown Bistro– A hidden gem, the bistro might be out of your way (located in the Taylor Woods Youth Center) but is well worth the walk. The ingredients are locally sourced and the meals are prepared by MU Hospitality Management students. Enjoy this farm-to-table experience for breakfast or lunch. New this year, the bistro will also be offering Missouri-made beer, wine and hand-crafted soda. It's going to be MOmentous.
Honey Ice Cream– The Missouri State Beekeepers Association sure know what they're doing. This ice cream, made from honey, comes in a variety of flavors and is the perfect balm for the heat. Be sure to stop by their booth in the Agriculture Building to buy a cup. They also sell honey, flavored honey sticks and a selection of other bee-utiful items.
Where's the Meat? – The answer: at the Missouri State Fair. Pick your protein from the Beef House or Pork Place. Lines form around the lunch hour, so arrive early to ensure a short wait. Craving catfish? Jackson's is the place for you. For a popular on-the-go option, try a turkey leg from one of the food trucks. And you won't want to miss the jerky from the Alewel's Country Meats' booth in the Agriculture Building. It's the perfect snack for your trek across the fairgrounds.
Cinnamon Roasted Nuts– You can smell them from outside the building and their heavenly scent will quickly draw you in. Because who doesn't love a paper cone filled with cinnamon roasted almonds, pecans or cashews? Pick up a flavorful bag from one of the three vendors located throughout the fairgrounds (Varied Industries Building, Agriculture Building and Mathewson Exhibition Center).
Jumbo Corn Dog– A classic, the jumbo corn dog has long been a fair favorite. It's time to savor a foot-long hand-battered hot dog fried in a vat of hot grease. Yum. The question is, what's your ketchup game? Do you dip your corn dog or cover it in ketchup before commencing your feast?
Gerken Dairy Center– The moos from the cattle barns are a sign you're in close proximity to Gerken Dairy Center. Fresh ice cream has crowds flocking for a treat. Choose among shakes, hand-dipped ice cream or soft serve. One taste and you, too, will appreciate the udder perfection. If you're looking for something more substantial, try one of their grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.
Oh, Fudge!– The fudge is here and it's located in the Agriculture Building. Watch the fudge and brittle-making process in action and admire the selection of sweet confections filling the display case. Samples are offered upon request, but prepare to be hooked on more than one flavor. Plus, the Missouri Tourism booth is just down the aisle - stop by to pick up an Official Missouri Travel Guide or ask questions about your next #MissouriAdventure.
Last but not least, all of the fried food options: Oreos, Twinkies, Snickers, cheesecake, green tomatoes, pickles and jalapeno cheese?! That's right, if you can fry it, they've probably got it. Fried Coca-Cola? Check. Deep-fried Kool-Aid? Check. There's always the fail-safe funnel cake if you're wanting something tried-and-true, but why not be adventurous and sample the more unusual offerings.
Staying the night in Sedalia is probably a good idea because, after a jam-packed day of grazing on the fairgrounds, you're going to be sated and tired. But it'll be well worth it! So get out there and enjoy the fare at the Missouri State Fair.
Written by Ashley Sneed