As much as you try to plan your grand day of grazing, sometimes all the fair food choices can be a little overwhelming. Should you begin with a mini donut breakfast or go straight for the Sweet Martha's cookies? And why is it that when all you want is a corn dog, the only stands you can see are those selling pronto pups?
The Minnesota State Fair is offering a mobile version of its online Food Finder, a site that offers a description and mapped location of each food vendor. But a team from the local web design company Internet Exposure created a free app called Fair Shake that takes the quest for deep fried fare to the next level.[jump]
It works like this: The user selects a category, or multiple categories--Bacon, On-A-Stick, Vegetarian, and more--and, like Urbanspoon's famous restaurant-finding app, gives the phone a shake. The app will then randomly suggest a food that falls into one of the selected categories and offers a GPS-assisted Google Map to guide the user from his or her current location to the booth. For more suggestions, simply keep shaking.
Scott Dodge of Internet Exposure explains his group's inspiration for the app. "I always feel that when I'm at the fair that it's incredibly easy to get sidetracked," he notes. "I'll come there hungry, with ideas of crazy foods dancing around in my head. Since the fair is so huge, I'm always thinking 'Sure, that looks good, but maybe there's something better around the corner...', and that turns into a mile-long hike, looking for something delicious."
Fair Shake, Dodge says, puts a fun spin on--or shakes up, perhaps?--fair food-hunting by suggesting items you may not have known about. He hasn't, unfortunately, had the chance to sample all the 300-some foods included in the app. "One thing it has done is given me a top ten list of foods I need to try," Dodge says. "You better believe that I'll be at the fair more than a few times this year, shaking the heck out of an iPhone, looking for that perfect food."