All the summer fairs are closed for now. The 2019 state queens get to rule another year but it’s down hill from there for the rest of us. No jangle and screams from amusement rides. No prizes for cakes, jams, pies and biggest vegetable. The great halls sit empty of farm machinery, quilts, and pioneer contraptions. The grandstand stage remains bare, the dirt track devoid of monster truck crashes, tractor pulls and mules races. 4-H championships will take place but only family members are allowed to attend. Magnificent Clydesdale horses, pigs, steer and chickens are staying home.
One upside is not being assaulted by politicians who traditionally roam around, stick food in hand to show they’re just regular folks. The downside is the banquet will be unavailable to regular folks, too.
Except in Iowa. For the next two weekends the organizers have put together a very careful plan for food vendors to open along the main midway and the shuttered amusement rides. Attendance is limited but admission and parking is free.
For all who aren’t already in Iowa or scared witless to think about traveling there, solace may be found in the mind-melting amount of recipes to be found for almost all the beloved, yet unfathomable, food to be devoured at large and small fairs across the country. Specifically bacon-centric items (bacon brisket bombs, bacon wrapped pig wings), cheese curds, several varieties of poutine, chocolate covered fruits on a stick (master recipe) and, of course, your favorite fried cookie, candy and unnatural food stuff.
Certainly, there are more recipes to be found. Follow the Iowa Fair’s 2019 menu for suggestions. Get really good at one and think about setting up a booth along the midway next year!