State fair serves up all new food creations

WHEN the Indiana State Fair fires up on Friday, people will flock to the fairgrounds for a wide variety of reasons.

Some people love the swirling, twirling midways rides. Others come for the livestock shows and 4-H projects from around the state. Free concerts and special exhibitions are popular draws as well.

But there’s one thing that nearly everyone can agree makes the fair special — the food.

“Food is rooted in why fairs exist,” said Anna Whelchel, chief marketing and sales officer for the state fair. “What people want at the fair is something wacky and different that they can’t get anywhere else. Food is the No. 1 reason people currently come to the Indiana State Fair.”

Visitors can indulge in a caloric cornucopia during the three-week run of the Indiana State Fair. The Taste of the Fair competition allows vendors to show off their creativity, to the benefit of all of the foodies that come to the fair.

People can follow the food trail maps, trying the different offerings, then vote online for their favorites.

“Fairs are all about the senses — the smells of the fair, the sights that you see, an overload of senses in all regards,” Whelchel said. “The food just elevates that. When you come to the property, you smell it and you have to taste it.”

New flavors include the tang of a pickle pizza, the heat of a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos walking taco and the savory overload of the Mac Diggity corn dog — a corn dog filled with barbecue pulled turkey and mac and cheese.

Get a sampling of everything that makes the fair memorable with the State Fair Charcuterie Board, which features mini funnel cakes, mini corn dogs, salt water taffy, cotton candy, caramel corn and popcorn.

To satisfy your sweet tooth, sink your teeth into a deep fried brownie or mint cookie milkshake.

Adults wanting to beat the heat can grab a Carmel Corn beer from Sun King, a Lemon Shake Up canned cocktail or a State Fair Mary — a 24-ounce Bloody Mary garnished with skewers stacked with waffle fries, deep fried cheese curds, mini corn dogs, bacon and a pulled pork slider.

“We challenge our vendors to come up with something different,” Whelchel said. “A lot of fairgoers come and they want their traditional items that they consume — their corn dog, their funnel cake, their lemon shake-up. But there’s also a fairgoer who wants to try something different and add to that memory that they’re making that at a particular fair.”

Here is a rundown of the new items available at this year’s fair:

Bison Lettuce Wrap

Where: Red Frazier Bison

What: Butter lettuce filled with ground bison, sweet onion, water chestnut, ginger, carrots, soy and hoisin sauce.

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos walking taco

Where: Meatball Factory

What: Flamin’ Hot Cheetos crushed in the bag with taco meat, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, pico de gallo and sour cream.

Caramel Corn beer

Who: Sun King Brewing

What: This year’s Indiana State Fair brew is an ale made with 100 pounds of Just Pop In caramel popcorn in the batch.

Pickle pizza

Who: Swains Concessions

What: Homemade dough with a dill ranch sauce topped with mozzarella cheese, dill seasoning and dill pickles.

Deep fried brownies

Who: R&W Concessions

What: Gooey chocolatey brownies dipped in funnel cake batter, deep fried then topped with powdered sugar with a drizzle of chocolate syrup for chocolate lovers’ taste buds.

Deep fried cheese stick

Who: R&W Concessions

What: Mozzarella cheese dipped in corn dog batter then deep fried to a golden brown.

Peach shake up

Who: R&W Concessions

What: Fresh lemons, sugar, ice, and water along with peach flavoring.

Iced mocha coffee float

Who: Hooks Drug Store Museum

What: Hand dipped ice cream on top of a chocolate flavored iced coffee, topped with your choice of whipped cream and a cherry.

Boba Fun Cup

Who: Goodwin’s Pork-N-More

What: Vanilla ice cream layered with strawberry boba balls, sliced strawberries and gummy bears.

Nitro Fuel

Who: Goodwin’s Pork-N-More

What: Fresh brewed Lipton iced tea mixed with the world famous blue raspberry Lemon Twister.

State Fair Charcuterie Board

Who: Urick Concessions

What: Charcuterie, but fair-themed. This creation swaps out the traditional cheeses, meats, and nuts for mini funnel cakes, mini corn dogs, salt water taffy, cotton candy, caramel corn and popcorn corn topped with a sprinkle of colored candies.

State Fair Mary

Who: Urick Concessions

What: A 24-ounce Bloody Mary topped three skewers of fair food such as waffle fries, deep-fried cheese curds, deep-fried mac and cheese, mini corn dogs, bacon, fried pickles and a barbecue pulled pork slider.

The Original Cowpie

Who: Indiana Ribeye

What: A homemade chocolate chip cookie with creamy vanilla ice cream in the center and another chocolate chip cookie to top it off.

Vegan nachos

Who: Black Leaf Vegan

What: These all-vegan nachos are loaded with fresh tortilla chips, plant-based meat, coleslaw, pico de gallo and cheese, topped with creamy ranch, guacamole sauce and sweet teriyaki.

Pretzel nacho bites

Who: Wilson Concessions

What: Fresh pretzel bites covered in nacho cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, and bacon bits.

Mexican street corn in a cup

Who: Wilson Concessions

What: Roasted sweet corn, mayonnaise, hot sauce, cheese, and Mexican spices.

New crispy chicken sandwich

Who: Wilson Concessions

What: A crispy chicken breast on a fresh bun with your choice of toppings (lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, mayo, mustard).

Lemon Shake Up canned cocktail

Who: Hi and Mighty

What: Hi and Mighty, a new craft spirits distillery on the Indiana State Fairgrounds, made this bubbly refresher that will remind you of the fair during the magic hour in the waning days of summer.


Who: Indiana Pork Producers Association

What: Pit-Tatoes, potatoes loaded with pulled pork, shredded cheddar cheese, jalapeños and sour cream.

Mint Cookie Milkshake

Who: American Dairy Association Indiana

What: A mint cookie-flavored milkshake served with crumbled Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies.

Quick quesadilla

Who: American Dairy Association Indiana

What: A quick quesadilla served with Indiana’s own Red Gold salsa.

Mac Diggity corn dog

Who: Gobble Gobble Food Truck

What: A corn dog filled with barbecue pulled turkey and mac and cheese.