I consider myself a connoisseur of all things deep fried and home-cooked. During the summer, the Missouri State Fair inevitably tops my "Chow-Time List." 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 9-19, I invite you to check out these must-try offerings.
Honey Ice Cream – The Missouri State Beekeepers Association sure knows what they're doing. This ice cream, made from honey, comes in a variety of flavors and is the perfect balm from 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. Decent prices and big portions will have you coming back for more. 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 at the NDP Enterprise booth in the Varied Industries Building.
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? If your answer is "mustard," we can't be friends.
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. Mmm mmm good.
Oh, Fudge! – That's what I think every time I see the fudge booth, located in the Agriculture Building. I might as well say, "Take my wallet." 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. And, did I mention 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. (This advertisement brought to you by the Missouri Division of Tourism.)
Last but not least, my favorite, all of the fried food options: Oreos, Twinkies, Snickers, cheesecake, green tomatoes, pickles and jalapeno cheese?! That's right, if you can fry it (and even if you can't), 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 I recommend being adventurous and sampling the more unusual offerings.
I hope you're staying the night in Sedalia, 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