Kentucky State Fair 2018
The Kentucky State Fair may be over, but it’s never too early to start planning for next year! Really, after you visit the fair once, it becomes a waiting game to see how long you have to suffer until you can go again. Once a summer is just never enough to experience all of the sights, sounds, and smells that the fair has to offer. So until the fair graces us with its presence once again, we’ll have to stick to photos and memories of times gone by to give us that end-of-summer rush of endorphins. I’m sure by the end of this post, you’ll be ready to strap yourself into a slightly creaky ferris wheel and eat your weight in saturated fats!
Me being me, and this blog being what it is, of course I go to the fair primarily for food. There are just some things that you can only get at a fair! I learned how to make funnel cakes at home, so I got to pass those up this year in favor of some truly sinful delights. First up on the list: tornado taters. Sure, you can make fried potatoes at home. You can also make potato chips. But can you fry a whole spiralized potato so that the edges are crispy like a chip, the insides are mushy like the inside of a fried potato, and then cover the whole thing in cheese sauce and ketchup?
But it’s just one of those things that tastes better at the fair. Probably because you already know you’re eating a full day’s worth of junk, so the puddle of grease on your plate when you’re done doesn’t terrify you as much as you normally would. MOVING ON!
After an unremarkable corndog and a promise to return to the fried Snickers stand, we spotted something on the horizon: a churro truck. Drawn in by the promise of what’s essentially a cinnamon funnel cake stick, we discovered that they also had arepas and we were sold. If you don’t know what an arepa is, think of a sweet cornbread pancake sandwich with melted cheese in the middle. At least, that’s the kind they had available; you can also dress them with more sweet or savory ingredients depending on what you’re craving at the time. I think a salted caramel sauce-covered arepa is in my future sometime soon!
While we were surprised to find a staple of Colombian and Venezuelan cuisine in the middle of the Kentucky State Fair, we sure were grateful for the variety that it added to the offerings! In addition, we saw a number of Greek, Mexican, and Central American food vendors advertising their wares. I just love when I see cultural diversity in somewhere like the State Fair!
Our arepa hadn’t even had time to cool before we saw the holy grail of the Kentucky State Fair: the Krispy Kreme doughnut burger. Holy heart attack. I’d been meaning to try the burger ever since it debuted in 2010, but I was too afraid. One year, I had steeled myself and gotten in line, but I chickened out once I learned that the bun was two doughnuts (one on top and one on bottom) instead of just one split in half. That was just too much for me to handle, I usually don’t even eat two doughnuts in a sitting by themselves! But after watching hours of Ugly Delicious and Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix, I knew I had to be brave if I wanted to fully experience all the foods possible. So I lined up again this year and bravely said, “One doughnut burger.”
It was so much better than I expected. The sweet glaze balanced out the salty and savory burger perfectly. It was really rich, but I managed to get finish it all (it helped that I shared it with my husband so I didn’t have to eat the whole thing by myself). I enjoyed it, but afterwards… we decided to skip the fried Snickers. Even at the fair, you have to choose to love yourself at some point.
After all the food, we took a look at the baked goods competition, arts & crafts, sheep hall, and took a stroll through the Trillway. But before we left, we had to make one last stop: The Sweet Shoppe booth from Hodgenville. This is honestly one of the main reasons I come to the fair. I got a pack of three blocks of fudge from the fair four years ago, and I kept them tightly wrapped for ages so I could make them last as long as possible, pinching off the smallest pieces I could of the indulgent bricks. Having little reason to travel to Hodgenville during the rest of the year, I save this booth as my special treat to myself once a year when they come to the fair. This year, I made sure to snag a bar of birthday cake, a bar of amaretto (cherry and chocolate swirl), and a new flavor: caramel and chocolate with caramel M&M’s mixed in. Divine! I’m trying so hard to restrain myself, but I just know I’m going to have to make a special trip to Hodgenville at some point to stock up on some more fudge. Definitely don’t miss them at the fair!
After a long day of sightseeing and stuffing our faces, we were ready to go home and have a salad. With a side of water. Lots. And lots. Of water. But despite all the sodium, carbs, and doughnut burgers, I can’t wait to do it all again next year. August 2019 can’t come soon enough!