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Fair Food Favorites

For many folks, the State Fair isn’t the State Fair without all the tasty food. The State’s Fair market research shows that food is the number reason visitors come to the fair. There are about 140 vendor locations all with their own unique fare. With all the delicious food options available it may have some visitors a little overwhelmed, so here is a guide to some food favorites and traditions:

The Dairy Bar – It offers the best of all things dairy, visitors can stop by for the Fair’s famous grilled cheeses, with options of  American on white, pepper jack on wheat and Swiss on rye or any combination of those. There Dairy Bar also sells vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and lemon milkshakes. The best part about the Dairy Bar is that while visitors enjoy a great meal they are also supporting local Indiana schools and organizations, as the volunteers each day are working to raise money for their programming.

The Indiana Beef Cattle Association – Known for their ribeye sandwiches, fair-goers will be able to get these delicious sandwiches and much more at the organization’s two tents. One located on the north side of the West Pavilion and the other located on the Fair’s northeast side.

Deep fried dishes – Visitors can fulfill their deep fried needs on the north side of the Coliseum. Deep Fried Twinkies can be found at Spaghetti Eddie’s and deep fried bubble gum, Snickers, Oreos and much more can be found at Carousel Concessions.

Roasted sweet corn – This Indiana favorite is served up hot and dripping in butter at the Indianapolis Washington Township Lions Club.  

Pork Producers – Located on the north side of the Coliseum, the Pork Producers grill up some delicious pork burgers and tenderloin sandwiches.

Salt water taffy – Some say the best salt water taffy comes from Jessop while others believe Sutter’s takes the blue ribbon with theirs. Visitors can decide which their favorite is but either way you can’t go wrong with some good old-fashioned saltwater taffy.   

DuPont Food Pavilion – This building is dedicated entirely to Indiana food, the farmers who grow it, the chefs who prepare it, the artisans who craft it and the issues connected to it. Visitors can relax and watch one of the nine daily demonstrations on the Red Cold Culinary Corner and marvel at the cheeese scuplture. They can also sample and buy local foods. Purdue University’s Bone Zone Carnival of Healthy Choices is also located in DuPont and features kid-friendly, interactive displays on nutrition.

Menus this year feature low calorie options. Visitors can look for signs at their favorite vendors with healthier menu items that are less than 350 calories. Also, available in the Ag/Hort Building is the Farmers’ Market Café, where fair-goers can get salads, wraps and other healthy options.


Signature Food Competition


In honor of the “Year of the Coliseum” (and the largest renovation project in State Fairgrounds history), the State Fair will feature five new Reconstructed/Deconstructed items. In June, the fair held a Signature Food Competition where a panel of six people sampled all the new foods and offered their insights to people who then had the opportunity to vote online for their favorite one. The panelists were:

1. Alyssa Garnett, Indiana State Fair Queen

2.Jolene Ketzenberger, Founder & Editor, www.EatDrinkIndy.com 

3.Jason Gardner, IUPUI Men’s Basketball Head Coach

4.Kevin Freemen, WFMS Morning Show Host

5.Greg Browning, WJJK Morning Show Host

6.Nikki, WJJK Afternoon Show Host

The winner of the competition was the Fruit Twister Shake-up by Goodwin Family Products. This perfect summertime drink is made from fresh lemons, oranges, pineapple and strawberries shaken to perfection with sugar or Splenda, ice and water. The other reconstructed/deconstructed Signature Fair Foods are:

Cheeseburger Basket on a Stick (Barto’s Catering) Barto’s Signature Cheeseburger Basket all rolled into one.  Fresh seasoned ground beef and Sharp Aged Cheddar cheese tucked in a hash brown potato ball and rolled in seasoned bread crumbs and deep-fried to golden brown. Served on a stick.

The Mac Daddy (Gobble Gobble) Gobble Gooble’s signature homemade macaroni and cheese topped with their pulled BBQ turkey.

 Funnel Cake Ice Cream Sandwich (Urick Concessions) Creamy, soft-served vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two golden brown mini funnel cakes topped with powdered sugar and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Colossal Grilled Cheese Sandwich with a Salted Chocolate Carmel Shake (American Dairy Association) Three columns of breaded mozzarella sandwiched between two slices of American cheese grilled to perfection on Sour Dough Bread.  This colossal sandwich is accompanied by a delicious Salted Chocolate Caramel Milkshake.

All of the foods entered in the competition will be featured at this years fair.