What are the best state fair foods?

My husband didn't grow up in Minnesota and has never been to the state fair. (The horror, I know!) I'm taking him there to experience it for the first time this weekend. What are the foods he must try?

Having not tried any of this year's new foods yet, I'll recommend a few classics for starters.

I'm a big fan of the corn dog (the one with the cornmeal batter, which I consider superior to the flour-battered pronto pop) and usually have one a year, straight from a state fair fryer. Wash it down with a glass of all-you-can-drink milk, a cool, thirst-quenching Minnesota classic, and your one nod to healthful eating. (If you don't like milk, go for the 1919 Root Beer, made in New Ulm.) Actually, the butter-dipped roasted corn isn't bad for you either, and it'll probably be the sweetest ear you'll eat all summer.

The fried cheese curds are definitely bad for you but they're a classic. The line takes forever, and you really should split a basket with no fewer than four people, but they are a rare, get-'em-while-you-can treat.

For dessert, I have three suggestions: the Tom Thumb mini-donuts (in part just to watch the machines), the honey ice cream with sunflower seeds and, because you've got to go for at least one wacky item, the chocolate-covered bacon. It tastes a lot better than it sounds.

Readers, what are your not-to-be-missed state fair foods?

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Minnesota State Fairgrounds

1265 Snelling Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55108


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