What’s your favorite fair food?

In surveys taken at the Fair, people say again and again and again food is the top reason they come. And they certainly have plenty of options to choose from. Nearly 350 vendors have signed up for 2008 and a few more may be added before gates open Oct. 16. Now mind you, not every vendor is a food vendor, but there are hundreds of food booths to choose from.

What the Fair’s most famous for is good old Southern deep-fried fare, the inspiration behind this blog. Seriously, is there any kind of ho-ho or chocolate candy bar that hasn’t been dunked in oil? It’s always fun to guess what’s going to be the newest must-have treat. Well, a new one that we’ve found out will be at the Fair is deep-fried (are you surprised?) macaroni-n-cheese. A quick search online turned up a few tasty recipes for this dish. Paula Deen’s recipe included … butter, while another recipe called for Tabasco sauce.

Chef Vince Thomas, whose Chef’s Delight booth is near the Grandstand restrooms, wouldn’t divulge his secret ingredients, but he did mention a creamy marinara sauce for dipping that sounded delightful. For $5, you’ll get four or five mac-n-cheese cubes dipped in a special batter and deep fried to a golden brown. Thomas, who has already deep fried banana pudding and fruit cobblers, is fine-tuning recipes for future Fair creations. But, if I was a betting person, I’d guess it’ll be deep-fried, because as he put it, “I don’t think there’s any end to what you can deep fry.”

Having a “food hit” at the Fair can be a really big deal. Some of you may remember the deep-fried Coke that was a huge hit in 2006. We had reporters calling from England and Australia wanting to talk about the unique creation. If we hear of any other new creations coming, we’ll be sure to keep you posted.

CONTEST: In the meantime, we want to hear from you. Tell us what your favorite fair foods are. What are the not-to-be-missed foods that you enjoy every year? So what’s it worth to you? Respond by the end of the week and two lucky responders will get a 2008 tie-dye State Fair T-shirt. I’ll start: I stop by the mini-donut booth for a super-large cup of fresh-brewed iced tea almost every morning, and on a couple of days I’ll order up a bag of cinnamon and sugar mini-donuts (to share with my co-workers, of course. ;-)).

About ncstatefair

Welcome to Deep Fried @ the N.C. State Fair. We hope you will find some interesting tidbits about one of our favorite subjects -- the North Carolina State Fair! We're gearing up for the 2014 State Fair, Oct. 16-26 and look forward to sharing our behind-the-scenes knowledge with you.


  1. Even though I’m not eligible for a T-shirt (I already have one, and they’re awesome!), I’ll bite…My absolute Fair food favorite are fried Oreos, Woody’s chicken bites and fried apple sticks (they take me back to my elementary school cafeteria, but in a good way)!

  2. Funnel cakes! They taste the best at fairs and carnivals!

  3. I already shared one of my favorites: the gourmet candy apples (see the very first blog). My other favs are fried pickles, apple cider from Heritage Village and fried cheese.

  4. I love love love the Italian sausage sandwiches with peppers and onions that have been sizzling all day long. Mmmmm. Apple cider is a close second.

  5. I love the chocolate dipped frozen cheesecake on a stick! They are the best! I get one every year! 🙂

  6. I cannot leave the fair without my cotton candy, so that’s probably my favorite. But I also must have a polish sausage dog, oh, wait, gotta have the mini donuts, too – can’t get those anywhere else. Then there’s the fried cheese, the hushpuppies, the big pickle, the roasted corn. I love it all!

  7. I love the funnel cakes!! I have to get one every time I go to the fair!

  8. I love all of the delicious smells at the fair!! Some of my favorite foods are funnel cakes, barbecue sandwiches, hushpuppies, and especially candy apples! I always eat one and then get some to go at the end of the day. I also love the freshly-squeezed lemonade! I can’t wait! 🙂

  9. The deep fried PB&J last year was AWESOME!

  10. My must-have is a caramel apple and my boyfriend can’t leave without a funnel cake

  11. The deep-fried PB&J sandwich was quite delicious! And candy apples are always a favorite as well.

  12. I really enjoy the chocolate dipped frozen bananas. They are especially tasty if it is a warm day. And my husband loves the roasted corn on the cob–the more butter the better.

  13. Oh my – where do I even start?

    Foot long hot dog (pink kind) – with chili and mustard, red candy apple, apple cobbler, Al’s french fries (with malt vinegar), hushpuppies, and more!

  14. I can’t attend without having had a giant blooming onion and some lemonade. That’s a full meal right there.

  15. My favorite fair food would be the corn dogs, candy apples, funnel cakes w/ cherry topping and the smoked sausage w/ peppers & onions I can smell them sizzling now…YUM!

  16. Eric S Johnson

    By far and away, the one thing I have to have at the fair is the Milk from the Kerr Scott Building. It is always so fresh and so cold and makes the stress of the crowds melt away it its cooling, refreshing taste.

    And its 50 cents a cup – what better deal is out there?

  17. My favorite food is definitely the fried dough – oh my it is just too good!

  18. The fair food I look forward to every year is the ice cream from the NC State’s Department of Food Science. There is always a line but it is well worth the wait!

  19. My favorite? I only go to the fair to eat. I might ride a ride or two, but it’s a marathon of food for me: gyros, polish sausage, roates corn, double dipped ice cream, funnel cakes with chocolate and powdered sugar, elephant ears with cinnamon and sugar, hot dogs, blooming onions, cotton candy, lemonade and the free carton of milk from the NC Dairy Association LOL

  20. Personally the one thing I HAVE to get every year is corn on the cob! I love corn and roasted fair corn is the absolute best. BUT I also love fried snickers bars!

  21. roast corn, london broil, and a rootbeer float. that’s my fair meal!

  22. Caramel apples after a huge sausage dog with all the toppings…yummy!

  23. I haven’t missed going to the state fair as far back as i can remeber.And i can’t wait for this year.Every year i have a little tradition.I get me a steak sandwich that comes from a little stand prepared by the nc state students.(Beside the waterfall)and before we leave i milk the cow then go to the old mill and get free samples of hushpuppies.My family and i would miss going to the state fair for anything.

  24. More than anything else…the mini donuts. They are made to order with cinnamon and sugar. I love it.

    The maple cotton candy is good too.

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