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|This man is ridiculously happy about selling turkey legs.|
NEW! Scroll down to the bottom for menu boards.
Tips. The best time to go is probably between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. That's when admission and parking fees are waived for Lunch At The Fair. No, they don't come find you and kick you out at 1 p.m. The rest of the time, admission is $10 ($5 for kids) and parking is $10.
Most fair food vendors now take credit/debit cards. This is a pretty big change over the past five years - a welcome one for those who don't want to bring cash.
Alligator Bites. That's right, these chunks of alligator meat are Cajun seasoned and battered, deep fried and served up in a basket for $8 at Larry's Cajun Shak in the Food Court. Or get them on a stick for $9. Porky's on the Midway offers its own version for $11.
Alligator Sausage Sandwich. Another Larry's Cajun Shak offering, this is an alligator sausage link on a hot dog bun for $8.
Apple-Filled Churros. Served up at Leimon's Pizza, these fried and cinnamon-sugar dusted treats are just as good as pie. Yeah, I said it. $3.
Apple fries. Similar to the Tasty Tom winners of 2013, the fried apple rings, these are strips of apple that have been flour-battered with cinnamon and sugar, fried and served with sauce. $6 at Fried What? near the Main Stage.
Arnold Palmer on a Stick. The same popular combination, but frozen. Lovely. $3 at the Ice Tea Box stands.
Baked potato. Get a big hefty baked potato for $5 (we're talking a pound of potato!) with your choice of sprinkle-ons, or loaded with cheese and bacon for $7, from the guys grilling in the old pickup truck in the Food Court.
Barbecue parfait. This is layers of mashed potatoes, beans, meat and barbecue sauce in a cup. Find it in ham, beef, pulled pork and chicken varieties at Porky's on the Midway for $9.
Bear Claws. Don't get too excited - these are pre-packaged bear claws, but they are available at the Philly Stand next to the excited Turkey Leg guy on the Midway.
Big Dog. The ultimate gotta-share-with-friends dish of the Arkansas State Fair, this two foot long, two and a half pound hot dog comes naked or dressed with everything you want, including chili, cheese, slaw, onions, cheese sauce, jalapenos, maybe even bacon. It's $15 plain, $18 with chili and cheese and $20 with the works. Also, if you want it with four drinks, it's $30. Find it at Bud and Burgers (the old Blue Moon) near the Big Show Diner.
Boudin balls. Want some Louisiana-style sausage? The popular white sausage made from pork is available at Larry's Cajun Shak for $6.
Brawt burgers. Burgers made with brats. Find them at Bud and Burgers near the Ag in Action building for $4.50 a single and $8 a double.
Breakfast dogs. Pancake batter around sausage links, you'll find them at Chris' Jumbo Corndog in the Food Court, three for $5.
Bucket of fries. $4 for small, $6 for medium and $8 for a full bucket at Original Fry City Fries on the Midway at Cattle Barn 5 (across from Barton Colliseum's entrance). Cheese is a buck extra.
Bucket of nachos. $5 a half bucket or $8 a full bucket at Original Fry City Fries.
Ozark Candies and Nuts introduced this new flavor last year, which pairs Buffalo seasoning with ranch dressing to create a savory snack. Find it in the Hall of Industry.
Buffalo wings. Yep, you can get Buffalo wings at the Arkansas State Fair, one of many flavors offered at the Pavilion near the Big Show Diner. They're $7 for eight, $11.50 for 12 and $45.50 for 50.
Burgers. As usual, Hubcaps are available at the Hubcap stand in the Food Court (where you can also get Pig Lickers). This year, the Blue Moon Cafe and the old gray burger stand have been replaced with Bud and Burgers, with a location at the permanent pavilion next to the Big Show Diner and at the gray building across from the Ag in Action barn at the south end of the Midway. At the latter, a four ounce burger is $4, eight ounce is $8 and a double-eight (two patties make a pound) is $12. For more extreme burgers, Porky's on the Midway offers a pork burger for $7, a lamb burger for $9, a turkey burger for $8 and a bison burger for $10.
Burritos. Oversized burritos are available at the Big Show Diner. You can get bean ($3.50), beef ($4.50), supreme (S5.50) or chicken ($6.50).
Calzones and stromboli. Both are available for $8 at the Fresh Oven Baked Pizza stand in the north section of the Midway. They're easier to eat than pizza, and a bit larger than your average slice. Yay carbs.
Candy apples. Available at Candy Tower near the Big Show Diner for $3.50 or 2 for $6, also available in the Hall of Industry. There are also candy apples at the cotton candy trailers for $4 each.
Candy cones. These are plastic cone-shaped bags filled with candy such as gummy worms, Lego sugar blocks and more. $3 each or four for $10.
Candy corn. The old fashioned classic is back and available in bright colors at Candy Tower, at the intersection in front of the Big Show Diner for $5 a bag.
Carne Asada. Mexican-style steak and onions served with rice, refried beans and salsa for $14 at the Big Show Diner.
Caramel corn. The old fashioned fair staple is still offered at the Cotton Candy Apple stand in the Family Zone at the northwest corner of the state fairgrounds. It's $5 for each container.
Cheese dip. Of course Arkansas's own creation, originally delivered by Blackie Donnelly, makes its appearance at the state's largest fair. You'll find cheese dip and tortilla chips for $5 at the Burger Wagon. There's also the original Arkansas State Fair original recipe blend at the Big Show Diner, which runs $3.50 for small and $7 for large, with chips.
Chicken Enchilada Parfait. Unfortunately, there wasn't a full sized version of this treat to shoot, but this is indeed a chicken enchilada topped with lettuce and tomato and cheese that will be served in a cup. As soon as they start serving this up, I'll share a legitimate photo.
Note: I haven't found it yet on the fairgrounds. Cheto's does not have it on their menu board.
Chicken Gizzards. I kid you not. Boss Hogg by Gate 5 is offering these up in baskets, small $6 and large $10.
Chipotle glazed nuts. Ozark Candies and Nuts has combined roasted chipotle peppers with sugar and butter to create a perfect coating for cashews and other nuts. Warm but not too spicy.
Chocolate-covered cheesecake on a stick. Exactly what it says in the title, this is a slice of cheesecake that's been dipped in chocolate. Eat it quick -- once it warms up, it will fall apart. It's $7 at the Fried Twinkie stand next to the Hall of Industry - or, get it cheaper and spend just $4 at the Chinese food stand on the Midway.
Chocolate Covered Corn Dog. This year's version of Pig Licker strangeness, it is exactly what it appears to be - a chocolate dipped corn dog with sprinkles. Find it at the Armadillo Egg stand.
Cones. From the fried chicken and gravy cone pictured to the Jamaican Jerk-filled, the chile con queso version and more, this year's new package for spreading edible joy is the Conewich. While the company that makes these cones hails from Las Vegas, the fillings are strictly Arkansas State Fair inspired. Extra points for only having a miniature utensil and paper wrap to dispose of when the dish is gone.
Coffee. The second cheapest beverage at the Arkansas State Fair is coffee... available at the Big Show Diner for a dollar.
Corn-in-a-Cup. The same guys are offering corn cut off the cob for $6 a cupful. Add meat for $2 more.
Corn in a cup. With meat for $7 or without for $6 at the corn-grilling truck in the Food Court.
Deep Fried Peach Pie. Not just a peach hand-pie, the folks at Fried What?!? top themselves again, battering and deep frying an actual slice of a peach pie. Get yours with plenty of whipped cream.
Deep fried sweet and sour ribs. Something about the process of smoking, then deep frying ribs and soaking them in sweet and sour sauce has created a new Asian-inspired flavor of pork riblets that I suspect will become a happy favorite this year. Three bones and fries $10 at Boss Hogg's.
Dippin' Dots. The ice cream of the future is at an Arkansas State Fair stand near you -- or at least near the Food Court. Enjoy these pellets of ice cream in several flavors, including Cookies n' Cream, Strawberry Cheesecake and Cotton Candy.
Elephant ears. Big sugar and cinnamon dusted pastries as big as your head, $6 at the Fried Dough stand.
Fajitas. Chicken for $13.50 or steak or combo for $14.50, this is eight ounces of meat grilled with onions, bell peppers and tomatoes and served with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, salsa and cheese and fresh flour tortillas inside the Big Show Diner.
Floats and Flurries. The Ice Cream vendor near the old Main Gate of the Arkansas State Fair offers root beer and Coke floats for $5 and flurries with M&Ms, Reeces cups or Oreos for $6.
Fried cheese on a stick. Grater Tater offers these for $5 with bacon.
Fried cheesecake on a stick. Exactly what it says it is, a sweetly battered and deep fried slice of cheesecake on a stick. Holds together better than the regular chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick. South end of the Midway for $7 or at the gray building by the Hall of Industry.
Fried chicken. Boneless fried chicken is available several places, including as a dinner at the Big Show Diner.
Fried dough. That's the $6 specialty at Fried Dough in the Family Zone section of the Midway.
Fried green beans. Get a boatful for $9 at the Guacamole Dog concession on the north end of the Midway.
Fried Milky Way. Another twist on deep fried candy bars -- this one's $6 at Fried What? or $5 at Grater Tater.
Fried Pop-Tarts. Yep, someone went there - namely, the ice cream guys near the Hiland Milk booth. $5 each.
Fried Twinkies. Since someone figured out you can deep-freeze a Twinkie, batter and deep fry it for something truly devilish and light, these have become a fair staple. They're $4 at the end of the Midway or $5 at the stand by the Hall of Industry. Fried What? has them $6 each or two for $10.
Fries. Like French fries? You can get a bucketful for $8 from Fry City Fries. Definitely something to share with a crowd. Top it with nacho cheese sauce for a dollar. You can also add seasonings -- they're provided. Choose from Old Bay, seasoning salt, black pepper, vinegar, and several other choices.
Frog legs. Get a paper boat full at Porky's on the Midway for $9.
Fruit Punch. A recipe dating back to the 1850s is still in use at the Big Show Diner (a throwback from when Mexico Chiquito operated the State Fairgrounds location). Deep red and redolent of pineapple juice, it's a favorite that comes back year after year. $3 for 20 ounces or $5 for 32 ounces.
Fudge: A great sweet to grab on your way out to take home for later. Find it in the Hall of Industry for $4 at Colonial Nut Roll.
Funny Bones. They’re just a funny name for something else -- chocolate peanut butter injected deep fried Twinkies. As if a fried Twinkie wasn’t sweet enough. Seriously, though, the on-a-stick creation from the folks at Fried What? is a cross between a deep fried Twinkie and a deep fried Reeces Peanut Butter Cup. You’ll find Fried What? next to the Pineapple Whip people by the Wendy’s Main Stage. Funny Bones are one for $4 or two for $6.
Glazed meatballs and potatoes on a stick. Step way from the deep fryer. These roasted meatballs and whole young potatoes have a sweet, peppery glaze. Something not fried to enjoy at the fair.
Greens. Get 'em at Boss Hogg's by Gate 5, complete with chunks of ham.
Guacamole Dogs. Hot dogs... with avocado. These exist on the north Midway. $6.
Gumbo. Larry's Cajun Shak (yes, that's how it's spelled) serves up a serving for $8.
Ham. Get a big ham sandwich at the Petit Jean Smokehouse for $9.50. It comes with fries.
Homemade Root Beer. $6 for a cupful, a dollar extra in a take-home tin, a dollar extra to make ti an ice cream float. Near Gate 5.
Hot dogs. Cheesesteak Factory offers Nathan's all-beef dogs for $4. You can get the famous red Petit Jean Meats version at the Petit Jean Meat Smokehouse.
Hot Beef Sundae. So simple but so good, this concoction of beef in gravy over mashed potatoes with cheese "sprinkles" and a cherry tomato on top is this year's Tasty Tom winner for best tasting new fair food (a version has previously appeared at the fair).
Ice cream. The Ice Cream Parlor in its fuschia and purple wagon along the Midway serves lots of ice cream confections. Toppings include nuts, marshmallow fluff, butterscotch, hot fudge, chocolate syrup and caramel. They offer banana splits ($8), ice cream in waffle cones ($5), milkshakes, slushies, frozen bananas ($4), arctic swirls and gelati. The Dippin' Dots stand in the Food Court does chocolate, vanilla, cookies and cream and butter pecan cones for $4 ($5 for waffle cone).
Iced Tea. Drink healthy at the fair is to consume refreshing, unsweetened iced tea. Available at the Lipton Tea Boxes, located in the food court and at the end of the midway, $3 for regular and $5 for a refillable large (refills are $3). Oh, there's sweet tea there, too. And fruit punch.
Italian sausages. You'll see these in big coils in the window at a number of places, sizzling away all day on a grill with peppers and onions.
Jambalaya. Louisiana-style with andouille sausage at Larry's Cajun Shak in the Food Court. A bowl is $7.
Jumbo pickles. They're big, they're salty and sour and they're $3 at Mickey's Grill in the Food Court.
Kettle corn. Sweet and salty, ready to eat hot or take home, you can get yours for $5 a regular bag or $9 for a large bag at the pork rind stand outside the Hall of Industry.
Lemonade in a Bucket. Seriously, the largest serving of lemonade you can find at the State Fair is from this purveyor within the corridor between the Midway and the Hall of Industry. $12, with $6 refills. As if you need a refill.
Maple Bacon Corn Dog. Sweet and savor is part of why corn dogs are so popular, especially those with a sweet cornbread mix on the dog. Add in maple syrup and bacon shavings, and you get this - a sweet, savory, slightly drippy and so salty blend of everything you probably ever wanted in a fair food. Be careful - add chocolate and you've hit the chocolate-bacon-deep fried trifecta. Find it at the Armadillo Egg stand.
Maple Bacon Funnel Cake. Utilizing a maple buttercream and plenty of fresh bacon bits, this thick funnel cake is dinner and dessert in one setting. Get yours at the Hawaiian Snow Shaved Ice stand up the hill from the end of the Midway.
Nachos. Almost everywhere at the Arkansas State Fair, you'll find nachos. They come in all shapes and sizes. Your pretty standard nachos with cheese sauce can be found for $4 at Mickey's Grill in the Food Court (50 cents more for chili). Jumbo version is available for $7 across the Food Court at the Burger Wagon. At the Big Show Diner, not only can you get nachos and chili cheese nachos, you can also get your nachos topped with tamales, $8.50 for regular and $13 for large. Wow.
Onion petals. Fried onions are a longstanding hit at the Arkansas State Fair, with versions ranging from onion rings to onion blossoms. Look for places that serve these deep fried and battered onions with special sauces.
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Funnel Cakes. Exactly what they say they are. I believe these are in the Food Court but am going back to make certain.
Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. A lot of places serving these around the fairgrounds. Hot grilled beef with onions and peppers, usually served with provolone or swiss cheese. Look for the Cheesesteak Factory in its big green trailer towards the south end of the Midway. It's $10 for a full sandwich with the works (mushrooms, peppers and onion) or $9 for just the cheesesteak. Pat's Kitchen also does a traditional Philly for $8.
Philly fry bowl. A bowl of Philly beef, cheese, onions and other vegetables for $10 at the Philly Cheesesteak Stand.
Polish sausage. Get your link for $8 at Cheesesteak Factory.
Pork butt BBQ sandwich. A hefty serving of barbecue sauce soaked pork from Boss Hogg's for $10.
Pork tenderloin sandwich. This Iowa or Indiana favorite is a breaded pork tenderloin slice served on a bun for $8. Find it at the Philly Cheesesteak Shop near the funhouses on the Midway.
Pork Wing Drums. I'm guessing these are pork riblets treated like chicken wings... so far that's what they appear to be. Served with sauces at Bud and Burgers near the Ag in Action building, they're 3 for $7.50 or 5 for $12.50
Pumpkin Spiced Mixed Nuts. While other applications of the spice have mixed results, this is the combination everyone's been waiting for. The folks at Ozark Candy and Nuts have their fingers on the pulse of this nutty, nutty world. Find them in the Hall of Industry. Small cones $6, large cones $10 and two cones for $17.
Pretzel Covered Deep Fried Brownie. Hot, this guilded lilly combines the crunch of pretzel with the smoothness of caramel and the utter chocolate delight of brownie. Marvelous. This year's Tasty Tom winner for Most Creative New Food, you'll find it at Fried What? for $6.
Red beans and rice. The most filling meal at the Arkansas State Fair, you can find it at Larry's Cajun Shak in the Food Court for $6.
Reuben sandwich. Get a big one hot out of a skillet at the Reuben sandwich stand near the Food Court for $9.
Ribeye sandwich. A hearty steak on bread for $15 at Boss Hogg's near Gate 5.
Ribeye steak. Porky's sells one for $10 on the Midway.
Ribs. Rack or half rack, pork ribs are grilled over hot charcoal at several places across the fairgrounds. Find them at Boss Hogg's near the south end of the Midway or by Gate 5 for $24 a whole rack or $14 a half, or country-style for $9 at Porky's on the Midway.
Rocky Mountain Oysters. These bull testicles come in a paper boat with fries for $9 at Porky's on the Midway.
Salt-water Taffy. Colonial Nut Roll inside the Hall of Industry carries this old-fashioned fair classic in a variety of flavors and colors. 20 piece bag $5, 42 piece bag $9, 65 piece bag $12.
Shaved ice. Cool and refreshing, you have a wide variety of flavors to choose from -- Tiger's Blood, wedding cake, cherry, blue raspberry, cotton candy, pina colada, bubble gum, peanut butter, green apple, strawberry, banana and peach. South end of Midway, $3. Also at Memaw's Homemade Concession in the Food Court, $4 small and $6 large, with banana, blue raspberry, bubble gum, cherry, coconut, cotton candy, grape, ice cream, lemon-lime, orange, peach, pina colada, pink lemonade, sour apple, strawberry daiquiri, strawberry, Tiger's Blood, watermelon and wedding cake.
Soul Food. Boss Hogg's by Gate 5 offers dinners with yams, greens, and all sorts of things, two sides for $7 when you order pork chops, chicken on a stick or any other meat special on the menu.
Southern Blue Plate Special. If you're looking for a full-sized sit-down meal, you can get it at the Big Show Diner for $13. The choices include the giant chicken fried steak, pork loin roast, roast beef, fried or grilled chicken breast or hamburger steak with two sides and a roll for $13. Sides include mashed potatoes, red potatoes, fries, corn, beans, carrots, black eyed peas, green peas, Spanish rice or coleslaw.
Steak and eggs. Michael's Family Diner along the Midway offers this breakfast or anytime classic for $10.
|This lady wants you to be refreshed with sweet-tea-on-a-stick and other liquid delights.|
Taco Fries Supreme. A bowl of fries topped with taco beef, cheese dip, chili, salsa, lettuce, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, shredded cheese and sour cream for $8 at Bud and Burgers by the Ag in Action building.
Tamales. The Arkansas Delta favorite comes three for $8.50 or 5 for $10.50 covered in chili and cheese at the concession stand inside the Hall of Industry.
Walking Taco. All the flavor of a taco salad, in a bag -- specifically, the bag the chips came in. Get one at Pat's Kitchen for $8.
See what was new, great and popular last year in the 2015 Arkansas State Fair Food Guide.
Follow me on Instagram and Twitter for more fair food updates throughout the event.
Below: All the menus I've seen at the Arkansas State Fair. Click for larger images.