On July 28, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that county fairs would be limited to livestock competitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think we will preserve the essence of the fair,” he said of the decision.
With all due respect to the governor, though, how can the essence of a fair be preserved if there are no corn dogs or funnel cakes? No elephant ears or cotton candy? No fried (insert basically anything edible here)?
So as a public service, we present several ways to get your fair food fix in 2020—that don’t involve putting everything on a stick.
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Find a food truck
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and stand next to the right food truck, and you’ll swear you’re at the fair. Yumii Kettle Corn Company definitely qualifies, as does the Angry Wiener. Almost any truck with an Americana menu might make you feel like you’re on your way to winning a giant stuffed teddy bear or headed for a ride on the Tilt-A-Whirl.
Consider carryout options
Believe it or not, some restaurants serve the same kinds of food you’d find at the fair. Culver’s offers Wisconsin cheese curds and chili cheddar fries that would perfectly compliment a trip on the Ferris wheel. Although it’s temporarily off the menu, they also have a very tasty pork tenderloin sandwich. Schmidt’s Restaurant has delicious giant pretzels, and we’re very happy to report that bd’s Mongolian Grill serves fried Oreos.
Check the grocery store shelves
Naturally, grocery stores carry the obvious, like corndogs and cinnamon-apple doughnuts. Delve a little deeper into your local market’s selection and you might find something unexpected.
Even better than ringing the bell on the high striker, for instance, is a fair staple found at Gordon Food Service. Because GFS normally sells to restaurants, they have a lot of different items in stock to start with–and that includes a $13.99 package of eight giant funnel cakes.
Simply throw one in the oven for three minutes, and when it comes out, dust it with powdered sugar and strawberries. To satisfy a real sweet tooth, throw on some whipped cream as well.
Make it at home
Fair food isn’t exactly known for being healthy. That might make a DIY-version an especially appealing prospect. You can also make adjustments for allergies and intolerances while still creating something worthy of a blue ribbon.
A few examples? Grill and season turkey meat for a walking taco (basically a taco in the bottom half of a small Doritos bag). Bake, rather than fry, churros. Similarly, corn dogs can be made with a baked cornbread coating. Deep fry steak fries in an oil of your choosing. Even go online to find your favorites by Googling “fair food.” You won’t believe how many there are.
And, yes, you can always put healthy food on a stick.
Wait until 2021
If you want the real authentic experience of eating your deep-fried cheese bites on the midway, you’ll just have to be patient. Yes, it will be a long wait, but nobody said life was fair.