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Going to the fair once meant an abundance of cotton candy, corn dogs, candy apples along with some fries, elephant ears, lemonade and root beer floats. Times have definitely changed because now when you visit the fair, your probably going to find your food on a stick, and deep fried if you want something exotic . . . and not so kind to your body. We are a long way from the deep fried Twinkies, Oreos and Spam. Have a look without drooling (or otherwise). Maybe you might want to carry some anti-acid along just in case.

As for myself, I think I’m going to have to (1) Skip the fair, (2) Eat before I go or find something a little more healthy there, or (3) Have one heck of a last meal. Here are some highlights:


Alabama (Birmingham): Krispy Kreme Hamburgers
The doughnut burger at the Alabama State Fair is a quarter-pound hamburger, bacon, cheese and two glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts in place of a single bun; containing nearly 1,100 calories and 67 grams of fat.  Photo © Bob B. Brown

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California (Costa Mesa):  Deep-Fried White Castle Burgers
The Orange County Fair is so dedicated to frying that a vendor called Heart Attack Café chose Deep Fried Butter Stand as its new name after being pressured with legal action by Arizona's Heart Attack Grill. Even more stupendous: Chicken Charlie's fried White Castle cheeseburgers (bun and all).  Photo © JoAnn Maxwell Stougaard
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Florida (Tampa):  Cheeseburger with Fried Ice Cream
One Florida State Fairgoer rationalized the appeal of a cheeseburger topped with deep-fried ice cream by describing the salty-sweet hybrid as a "milk-shake burger".  Photo © Dennis and Cheryl Reas
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Indiana (Indianapolis):  Hot Beef Sundae
When state fairgoers tired of the iconic rib eye steak sandwich, Indiana's Beef Cattle Association invented the Hot Beef Sundae ~ layered with mashed potatoes, marinated beef, gravy, cheese, corn "sprinkles" and a cherry (tomato).  Photo © Tom Coates
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Massachusetts (West Springfield):  Fried Jelly Beans
The Big E (a nickname for the Massachusetts State Fair) doesn't force a choice between candy and funnel cake. These jelly beans are dipped in batter before being deep-fried.  Photo © Melissa Rebelo
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Montana (Great Falls):  Fried Butter Balls
While the Montana State Fair is famous for its Big Sky ProRodeo Roundup, fried-food enthusiasts head for the deep-fried butter balls. Photo © Heather Leah Kennedy
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North Carolina (Raleigh):  Kool-Aid Pickles
Also known as Koolickles, pickles soaked in the sugary beverage are a Southern tradition and a sweet-and-sour snack at North Carolina's annual state fair.  Photo © deep fried kudzu
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Ohio (Columbus):  Chocolate-Covered Bacon on a Stick
Known as "A Muddy Pig".  Chocolate-covered bacon on a stick isn't new to fairgrounds, but the Ohio State Fair gilds the salty-sweet construction with a candied cherry.  Photo © A. Bill Miller
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South Carolina (Columbia):  Fried Pepsi
Pepsi was created in North Carolina, but it's hardly recognizable in South Carolina, where state fair vendors inject fried dough with Pepsi syrup and top the result with powdered sugar and more syrup.  Photo © Sean Mellody
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Texas (Dallas):  Fried Beer
Even alcohol can be fried when it's pocketed in pretzel dough. The food innovation won the 2010 Big Tex Choice Awards at the Texas State Fair.  Photo © Amanda Gillispie
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