It wouldn’t be summer in Ohio without the State Fair. My husband’s family has been going forever, and I’ve been tagging along since I joined their crew. It’s very mid-West, to be sure, and I get a kick out of the people-watching and, frankly, the livestock. If you’re not a farmer (hint: I AM NOT), where else can you milk a cow? Where else do you get to watch chicks hatch? Where else do you get to compare the five hundred types of poultry?!
And where else can you get thirty types of funnel cake? I mean, that’s what it’s about, really. Saturday morning, we woke up early and hauled ourselves off to the fair, thinking, weather be damned! It can’t possibly rain on our fair day!
Well. It rained all morning. Due to a sudden downpour, I learned a lot about riding side saddle, even before we could get a bite to eat. Eventually, we decided to brave the mist, and wandered out into the elements. And here’s where we went first.
We always get a bucket of fried veggies to share. Our favorite stand was closed down while they filmed a bit for the Food Network (we know how to pick ’em!), so we tried this new place.
What you see here is deep-fried onions, broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower, and zucchini. The batter was good, though a tad greasy (shocking, right?). They served the veggies with “Boom Boom Sauce,” which they described as spicy ranch. I think we still preferred our other stand, but this certainly hit the spot for some ridiculous fried goodness.
Oh, and if you get thirsty, the ONLY place you can go is Tracey’s for their divine root beer. It is basically the only time all year I drink non-diet pop, and it is WORTH IT.
We got rained on a bit more, then headed into the Taste of Ohio building and straight into the pork line. We ordered the “three little pigs,” or three pork sliders.
You’ll see pulled pork, tenderloin, and the most delicious BLT I’ve ever had to share. The tomato was sturdy and full of flavor, and the bacon was cooked to that magic range between crisp and chewy. I love the Taste of Ohio building because you can get actual, well made, hearty food. Don’t get me wrong — fried snickers are a treasure, but you’ve got to balance that with a little substance.
We got caught in another down pour and headed into the nearest building — which is where I got to meet all the cows! Aren’t they adorable?
This beauty is a Brown Swiss cow, and I loved her. (According to my mother, Brown Swiss cows are responsible for our supply of chocolate milk.) Her skin was soft and velvety, and she shoved her nose through those bars so we could pet her. Who knew cows were such charmers! Just a few stalls over was another baby that stole my heart.
Her name is Calico, and on the day this was taken she was only 18 days old. I love how she curls herself up like a puppy. I tried to take her home with me, but husband wasn’t super into the idea.
And don’t worry, we didn’t miss the most famous cow at the fair, either.
Behold! This year’s butter cow! This is so very Ohio, I can’t stand it.
We found our way to another building, and spent some time admiring the flowers on display. This was a first for me — I didn’t know that this was a part of the fair. Aren’t they lovely?
These are only TWO of the seemingly hundreds of rows of gladiolas (we’ve got florists in the family, so please Lord, tell me I got that right…). There were flowers in every color imaginable, each more lovely than the last.
Before we headed home, we had one last stop: funnel cake. We were presented with a list a mile long, and stood dumb-founded at the counter until a kindly server offered us her help. She said the red velvet was the most popular (had it), but her favorite was the strawberry shortcake. You remember that I don’t like fruit, right? I was not excited about this strawberry funnel cake, but husband wanted to give it a go, so I went with it.
IT WAS PHENOMENAL.
Look at this! On top you’ll see whipped cream, cream cheese icing, strawberries, and of course powdered sugar. Funnel cake is heavy, and dense sometimes, but the strawberries were so light and refreshing, and the perfect complementary sweetness. We split it, and it was more than enough for two people. I’ve said it before, but you MUST trust your servers, folks.
After that, the rain chased us away, but we were full, happy, and at one with the state. Until next year, State Fair!