I arrived at the Alaska State Fair and passed through the gates around 6:30 p.m., dinner time. I had three things in mind for dinner: pork chop on a stick, corn on the cob, and chocolate-covered bacon. Then, maybe ice cream.
I set out in quest of the chocolate bacon first, fearing they might run out. I looked down at the pavement and saw a red stylized moose track on the asphalt. That meant I was on the red trail. By checking the program, I could tell where the major venues were—red, green, yellow, or purple trail, but not each individual booth.
The fair program didn’t tell me which trail the food concession booths were concentrated, but I recalled they were off to my left the last time I was here so I went in that direction. All week I’d been hearing on the 5 o’clock news about the bacon, and it brought back childhood memories my friend Judy carrying pomegranate seeds on the salty lid of a Planter’s cocktail peanut can as we walked to the school bus stop one winter morning. There was something about that salty/tart flavor that captured me.
I found the green trail and passed booth after booth, selling halibut, crab, corn dogs, hamburgers, French fried, cotton candy, popcorn, kettle corn,…on and on and on.
My second-most favorite booth sign. It's been there for years. I can only guess someone asked how to spell "onion," and some answered, "Oh-nnnn-eye-yon." Then something got lost in the translation.
and for $3, I was rewarded with this:
A thin, salty slice of cooked bacon, dipped in chocolate. The bacon flavor was elusive, adding just a hint of smoke and salt to the chocolate. It was delicious. My guess is they use that pre-cooked, shelf-stable bacon, as the pieces are straight and even, not curly as bacon gets when fried in a pan at home.
I picked my way through the crowd and paused at one vendor’s booth. “How’s that bacon?” the vendor asked. “I’ve been wanting to try it.”
I held my treat in front of me. “This,” I said, “is quadruple bypass on a stick.” She laughed. “But, boy, it’s good,” I added.
And smack in the middle of all these food booths, I saw this sign:
They wouldn’t, I thought. They did:
A little white rat. What an hilarious juxtaposing. Dude Rat was getting used to all this. He stared at the crowd for a while before darting down a hole.
Eventually I found the pork chop on a stick booth. It was also selling cheese curds, which I’d never tried.
Had to leave room for corn on cob, so I ate about half and ditched the rest.
This is the most tender pork chop I've ever eaten.
You really need to go to fairs with someone who doesn’t mind sharing your food. Otherwise, you wind up doing what I did—eating part of the pork chop, cheese curds, corn on the cob, corn fritters with honey butter, and chocolate almond covered ice cream bar, and tossing the rest. Such a waste.
Here are some more candid shots of fair food, by all means not all the food available:
Okay, it's getting late. I've been here three hours--and that's a record for me in big crowds. I'm heading for my truck.
Bring the pink stuff, okay?