Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Warn your arteries. Prepare your palates. The Nevada State Fair is back. After a five-year hiatus, what was once the state’s longest running event is set to make it’s return June 9-12 at Mills Park in Carson City.

Of course there will be live music, carnival rides and a car show. The 2016 Nevada State Fair will feature historical performances and plenty of socializing. However, the most important part of any fair lies in its food court. Whether you’re proudly sporting a six pack or you prefer to rock a keg, it’s time to start trading in your cheat meals to spend a few days choosing taste over nutrition. To help you celebrate the state fair’s return, and the beginning of summer, here’s the top five fair foods to look out for.

Honorable mentions:

Before we get down to the real delicacies of Fairland, here are some foods just outside the top five that are still worth your consideration.

Corn on the cob

I mean, a balanced diet, right? Plus, it’s American as hell.

Stuff with gravy on it

Country gravy to be exact. In case you haven’t been to a fair lately, it’s not just for chicken fried steak anymore.

Stuff on a stick

Caramel apples, corn dogs dipped in a variety of batters, assorted meats and, everyone’s childhood favorite, cotton candy. It’s hard to go wrong with stick foods.

Bonus points if you dip something on a stick into country gravy. Except cotton candy. That’s weird. Don’t be weird.

5. Funnel cake

Funnel cake may not be the sexiest of fair fare, but Americans have been enjoying its simplistic tastiness for more than 150 years. While there are plenty of wild combinations and concoctions making the rounds, this one is best enjoyed in its most basic, traditional form: fried dough, powdered sugar and, if you’re feeling randy, honey.

4. Bacon

Nick Offerman wasn’t wrong about bacon. If anything, he may have underestimated its greatness. Fair vendors understand that a nice slab of bacon is far more than the king of breakfast foods. You can put on top of hamburgers. You can wrap stuff in it. Not impressed? It even works as pizza crust. The flavor of bacon livens up just about everything, including vegetables.

Think about your favorite food. Now go to the fair and try to find it wrapped in bacon. And you thought life couldn’t get any better.

3. Deep fried-anything

True story (probably): Once upon a time some dude was stricken with the urge to mix cocoa beans with milk and a crap-ton (because he obviously used the metric system) of sugar.

His teeth hated it. His heart hated it. His waste line hated it.  His taste buds went bonkers for it. Other people agreed and eventually that concoction merged with caramel, peanuts and nougat and Mars, Inc. started selling $2 billion worth of them a year.

At some point, many years after Snickers became a thing, another dude, this one a culinary savant of unparalleled genius (probably), decided he could improve on that invention by covering it with batter and dropping it in a deep fryer. The result changed the world, and now the list of deep fried delicacies available at state fairs nationwide is Forest Gump-worthy.

Deep-fried Snickers. Deep-fried Twinkies. Deep-fried cookie dough. Deep-fried mac and cheese. Deep-fried grilled cheese sandwiches. Deep-fried Oreo burgers. Deep-fried pickles. Deep fried zucchini. You get the idea.

If you’ve been saving a cheat month, now is the time to unload. You’re not doing it right if you don’t eat anything straight from the deep-fryer.

2. Pie

Is a fair without pie even really a fair? Whether you’re really committed to volume and entering an eating contest or just sampling the wonderful variety, pie is an All-American fair classic not to be passed up.

Apple, blueberry, peach, chocolate, it doesn’t really matter. At a proper fair, pie has its own spot on the food pyramid.

1. Something from the grill, pit or smoker

It’s true that dessert concoctions are heavily favored on this list, but don’t be fooled. The No. 1, top priority at any fair is finding the best meat available (preferably with a garnish of bacon) and going to town. Fairs tend to serve as a gathering place for master meat-cookers. Take full advantage.

How will you choose?

Well, you could start at one end of the food court and eat your way to the other, or, if you’d prefer, simply let your nose be the guide. Maybe it’s a deluxe hamburger, juicy steak sandwich or mouth-watering barbecue. You’ll know it when you smell it.

Read or Share this story: