Food & Swine

State Fair Food Favorites


I’ve been having lots of fun enjoying the Fair for the first time since 2010.  I’ve given up entering cooking/baking competitions for the year (at least if not forever) and I’ve been able to spend time with friends, find the great foods of the Fair and see things I’ve never seen. (Thanks to a great to-do list from my Florida bestie Kayla.)

Today we’re at home working on pig-things and getting ready for a big week.  I keep pushing to the back of my mind, the fact that my daughter will begin Kindergarten the day after the Fair is over.  (Seriously Iowa, can’t we start school after Labor Day?!)

I’ve been lucky to have some of my best friends and family around this week to enjoy the Fair with.  Here are some pictures from our fun Fair days and some Fair Food Favorites of mine!

Kayla came and we enjoyed a couple of bags of JR Donuts.  You can find them on the “Rock Island Triangle” near the Pepsi clock, by the Administration Building.  When I used to work at the Fair, the stand was approximately 57 steps from my desk.


The kids love to get the slushies, over west of the Giant Slide (which is a must-do!).  They love to mix and match colors.  $5 for the cup, $3 for refills.  We get to take our cousin Madison with us around the Fair.  She’s a great help with the kids and we have to take her home for a few days today… I might cry!


The Bauder’s Pharmacy “Peppermint Bar“.  My inspiration for this recipe and the best ‘sweet’ at the Fair, if you ask me.  Peppermint ice cream sandwiched by a ribbon of hot fudge and crushed Oreos. $6.  Also, the fresh Peach Shake for $5 is refreshing and light.  I’ve had 3 of those so far and it is only Sunday!


Fresh Peach Shake… yes, just do it.


Hoppy’s Lemonade Stand: I’ll recommend any type of flavored lemonade, but Cherry is my favorite, Red Raspberry coming in a close 2nd.



Other Fair Food Favorites of mine (that I have yet to photograph):

Beattie’s Watermelon Stand: Cup of Watermelon, Cup of Mixed Fruit and Smoked Pork Loin Sandwich
(Located right next to Giant Slide)
Gizmo: This is a ‘grinder’ style sandwich with very little or zero sausage in the mix. It is mixed with a red sauce and topped with mozzarella on a nice bun.  Scrumpsh.
(Located just North of the stage where they do all of the Bill Riley Talent Shows)
Cheese Curds: These are the favorite of my friend Brandi and my sister Tanna also likes them too!  We’ll be having some soon.  Try them with marinara sauce. To die!  (Located on the Rock Island Triangle and also over east of the Varied Industries Building)
Coney Corner: The best chicken strips EVER.  Trust me.  They also have Cherry Coke! (Located Right outside the horse barn on the NE corner.)
The Rib Shack: If the line outside of Joni’s stand tells the story, there are too many great items here to list.  Try the Southern Style Nachos or the Smoked Brisket Mac N Cheese if you want something different.  The aroma coming from this stand makes me swoon!
JR Donuts:  THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER EATEN. Get the large bag, I’m serious. And make sure the person bagging your mini-donuts leaves a tad extra cinnamon sugar in the bag. We eat these every single day, with AE Dairy Chocolate Milk. The best breakfast all year.
Remember my Visiting Livestock Barns 101 post?  This little cutie got me good yesterday with a bat tied up on fishing line.  Nice work!


Photoboards are popular with my kids… we took 3 pictures in this photoboard before we realized:


I’ve seen this guy grow up, I still have a picture on my mantle of him, toothless on the fourth of July.  He’s taller than me now and is the same age as my cousin.  We had fun seeing their pigs yesterday.


Brandi finally got to meet my sweeter-than-sugar little niece.  She was cheesing for the camera too!


I think I had 20 people comment on my shirt yesterday. Thanks to my daughter, I’ve got a nice pic. #realpigfarming


Back to the Fair soon to sit at Stockman’s and enjoy the end of summer with friends.


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  • Reply Mindy August 10, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Love, love, LOVE your ISF post! Missing the Fair this year so living vicariously through your posts. Hugs to you!

    • Reply Cristen August 10, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Wish I got to see you girl!

  • Reply sandyrmiller August 10, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Loved hearing about the fair. Really miss it this year and all the great food. I taught K and know hard it is on mother’s. I couldn’t take my oldest daughter to K. Because I was afraid I would cry in front of her. She went in a car pool with my neighbor the first day. What a big chicken!

  • Reply Janine August 10, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Cristen, Have you ever tried the guinea grinder at Aunt Mary’s Gunidea Grinders located just north od Diamond Jack’s? It’s a must have! Always the first thing I eat at every state fair!

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