Along with leaves changing from green to golden + a slight chill in the air (#SweaterWeather), the South Carolina State Fair is finally here. The best part? FAIR FOOD, of course. Sure, you can’t wait to ride the Ferris wheel and win a teddy bear that’s bigger than you. But, let’s be honest, you’re most excited about all the fried things and we’re not judging you because……same.
We’ve compiled a list of fair must-eats, so you can make the most of every moment, dollar and bite. If you make it your mission to try all of the above, document the journey and send us pictures. May the odds be ever in your favor.
Fair Food Classics
Or fried cookie dough. Or fried peanut butter cups. Or fried Snickers. Anything that is covered in sweet dough, flash fried to golden perfection and doused in a shower of powdered sugar will suffice. If you don’t indulge in eating something that probably shouldn’t be fried, did you even go to the fair? Word on the street is that you can even find fried butter. We dare you to try it.
Arguably our favorite fair treat to devour, corndogs are essentially the mascot of the South Carolina State Fair. Buy the foot-long (or the 18-inch if you’re feeling cray), douse that baby in yellow mustard and enjoy every greasy, salty bite. Preferably while you’re riding the Ferris wheel for #AllTheFairFeels.
A funnel cake is just fried dough covered in sweet powdered sugar, but we are completely hooked. They are simple, yet addictive. Sharable, but easy to finish solo. And eating one brings back all the nostalgic memories of going to the fair as a kid. We’ll take 5 with extra powdered sugar and an extra-large lemonade, please.
An underrated fair food choice, the cinnamon rolls at the State Fair are everything a cinnamon roll should be: giant, hot, and filled with gobs of warm cinnamon-sugar + vanilla icing. Ask for extra napkins with your sweet + sticky—you’ll need them.
There’s nothing quite like a colossal bucket of piping hot French fries. Pro tip: skip the ketchup this go-around and use a few dashes of malt vinegar instead. We’re not really sure why or how it works, but it totally does.
Just as pretty + Instagram worthy as they are delicious, candy apples are a traditional treat at the State Fair. Customizable to however you like ‘em, you can get yours covered in sprinkles, peanuts or just plain, buttery caramel. Or all three—the fair does only come around once a year. Besides, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? This totally still counts 😉
Chicken + Waffles
This is a classic at state fairs in the South—and sometimes even served on a stick! Fluffy Belgian waffles + crispy fried chicken is drizzled with buttery and sweet maple syrup. Sounds like an unlikely pair? Trust us, it works.
Fried Mini Donuts
Maybe it’s the cute-factor, but miniature versions of our favorite foods just seem to taste better. We recommend grabbing a bucket of these cinnamon-sugar mini donuts and eating them all. Yep, every single one. We believe in you!
Just a juicy, salty, crispy hunk of meat on a stick. Need we say more?
An Angus beef patty covered with melted cheese is stuffed between two glazed doughnuts that function as the burger bun. Yep, you read that right + it’s the definition of devilish and indulgent. While a bit unexpected, the salty/savory/sweet flavors marry together like magic. If a doughnut burger is wrong, we don’t want to be right.
New Fair Foods
Buffalo Chicken Gyros
This classic Greek wrap is amped up with a spicy twist—buffalo chicken!
Southern Catfish Sundaes
In the South, sundaes don’t always begin with vanilla ice-cream. Fried catfish fingers are piled high atop French fries and drizzled with spicy remoulade and white tartar sauce. Mmmmmm, we’re in.
As if a delicious burger wasn’t glorious enough, this baby is combined with bacon AND brisket and then served on garlic toast. #BurgerGoals, amirite?
Fried Bologna Burger
A spin on the classic fried bologna sandwich so many of us grew up eating, meet the Fried Bologna Burger. Fried bologna is stacked atop a juicy Angus burger and paired with pimento cheese and chili. All the eats, all the napkins.
Cover photo by Mary Abbott