Summer is the season of the state fair, that wonderful American tradition that celebrates distinctly homegrown activities like rodeos, livestock competitions, and, of course, shameless gluttony. State-fair foodstuffs are the stuff of legend, from the classic (corn dogs, fried Oreos) to the completely bizarre (fried Coke, fried bubble gum). One-upmanship is the name of the game, and almost everything is thrown into a deep-fryer before hitting the plate (or being skewered on a stick).
The most epic state fairs tend to take place in the South and Midwest, where the agricultural legacy is stronger, and the bigger-is-better ‘tude more refined. For folks in NYC, missing out on state fairs is a reminder that the cosmopolitan life isn’t everything. However, all is not lost—the influence of these fair-ground runs deep. While the lineage is not always obvious, there are shadows of state-fair cooking everywhere you turn—you just have to look closely.
To help you experience the joys of the state fair in NYC, we’ve picked out nine local dishes that most resemble the fairground classics.