Friday, October 10, 2014

2014 Arkansas State Fair Food Guide.

Wondering what's good at the Arkansas State Fair?  Check out just about every item at the fair here at Tie Dye Travels.

Head straight to the menu boards by clicking on this line.


Snake Bites.  These cheese-packed bacon-wrapped jalapenos are grilled, not fried, and they're amazingly hot.  Find yours at Larry's Cajun or the Alligator on a Stick shop on the south side of the food court, up the hill.

Deep Fried Brownie on a Stick.  Another crazy concoction from the Fried What? people, this is a battered and deep fried, dusted with powdered sugar and served up hot.  Find it near Gate 5 and the Hall of Industry.

French Toast Burger. It's a burger, on French toast, with egg and bacon and cheese.  There's also a pancake version if you don't like
French toast.  You'll find both at Porky's on the midway.

Doughnut Fries.  What's better than doughnuts?  Frying doughnuts in a deep fryer!  These strings of doughnut dough become crispy quick.  Eat yours hot.  You'll find them at Nana's Fried Pies next to the Center Stage Pavilion.

Fry Bread Taco. It's not new -- it was introduced last year -- but it's my favorite consumable at the fair.  That says a lot, since there are a lot of crazy amazing
things to dine on.  But this one's perfect -- seasoned ground beef, beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa and sour cream (and jalapenos on request), served up on a generously large piece of fry bread.  Dang it, now I'm hungry again.  Find it at Pat's Kitchen between the heart of the food court and Chicken Shack.

Pig Lickers.  Yes, these chocolate-covered strips of bacon are still available at the Arkansas State Fair.  Find them at the Burger Wagon -- covered in dark chocolate and sprinkled with your choice of sea salt or rainbow sprinkles.

Rocky Mountain Oysters.  Yep, fried beef testicles are being offered at the Arkansas State Fair, possibly for the first time (at least, first time since I started covering the event!).  Exactly what it says, served with fries and ketchup.  Grav liked them.  So did Michael.

Strawberry Shortcake in a Cup.  Not a nut, not covered in chocolate, this is just the traditional shortcake favorite layered into a clear cup.  Easy to carry along with you!  Find it at Ozark Candy and Nuts in the Hall of Industry.

German Potato Salad.  What?  Yeah.  Bratwurst, too, but the German Potato Salad is the strangest sidedish in the Food Court.  Also, a good place to get German beer.

Philly Cheese Steaks.  All over the fair this year, ranging in price.  The most reasonably priced ones are at Grazi's, which is next to Paizi's in the food court.  They're $8.  Of course, for a dollar more, you can see yours made in a gigantic cast iron skillet at the sirloin tip vendor beside Mickey's Grill.

Pork Chop Platter.  There are a lot of porcine delicacies at this permanent stop in front of the Swine Barn at the end of the midway -- including a sandwich, coleslaw and fry deal featuring the signature pork chop.  Succulent -- and if you get to the fair early, this is the place to have breakfast.

Sausage and Onions.  The folks who bring pork tenderloins to the fair each year also bring big coils of different sausages.  And then there hot links, too.  Just follow your nose to one of the two places on the midway to get these red hot firecrackers.

Deep Fried Meatball Stuffed Avocado.  An avocado half, with a beef meatball in place of the pit, battered, deep fried and served on a stick.  Get your Ranch dressing alongside.

Ice Cream. In addition to Hiland Dairy, there are a few other vendors serving up sweet creamy frozen treats.  Two Brothers Concessions right next to the pig races is offering cones, cups and milkshakes.  There's an ice cream vendor outside the south door of the Big Show Diner, and Dippin' Dots are available in the food court.

Fire Roasted Ribs and Steaks.  There's nothing like a steak or ribs off the barbecue -- and at the perennial spot between the Center Stage and Gate 5 you can get yourself some great steaks licked by the flames, plus some awesome ribs.  This year, Cajun ribs are also on the menu -- saucy, spicy, and messy.  Hey, you didn't come to the fair to keep your shirt clean, did you?

Saucy Wings.  The Chicken Shack folks can do just about anything with a bird, and this year they're focusing on putting out great chicken wings and chicken tenders in a variety of flavors -- spiced with Cajun or lemon pepper seasonings or sauced with buffalo, honey mustard or barbecue sauce.  Find all that great bird in the red pavilion just outside the Hall of Industry.

Nachos Supreme.  This dish at the State Fair of Texas has nothing on the Arkansas version -- which includes both cheese dip and shredded cheese.  You can get nachos with just cheese, cheese and chili or with the works at the Big Show Diner.

Chocolate Milk.  Hands down, the most reasonably priced item you'll find at the Arkansas State Fair.  Hiland Dairy (we remember these folks as Coleman Dairy) is offering cold sweet creamy treats of all sorts between the pig races and gator wrasslin' just off the midway.  Most ice cream confections and smoothies are $3, but for a cup-sized portion of white, skim or chocolate milk, it's just 50 cents.

Iced Tea.  The other way to drink healthy at the fair is to consume refreshing, unsweetened iced tea.  It's 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.

Strange fruity beverage concoctions in even stranger vessels.  I can see drinking a smoothie out of a coconut, or even a boot, but a leg?  It's one of many options for swigging away from the folks from Coco Cabana (two locations -- one along the midway next to the Chinese food place, the other across from the Big Show Diner). and best part is, you can figure out where in your kitchen you can put the leg when you're done.

Cherry covered cheesecake.  This probably isn't what you were thinking.  This is a frozen confection of cheesecake molded into a triangle and then dipped in cherry-infused white chocolate and sprinkles.  The coating keeps a lot of drips off.  You'll find it in the Ice Cream vendor's booth off the side exit for the Big Show Diner.

Pizzeria-style Mozzarella Cheese Sticks.  Rather than battering and deep frying, these cheese sticks are bready and spiceful, just like a good cheesy breadstick at your favorite pizza joint.

Fried Pies.  What is an Arkansas State Fair without one of its most famous desserts?  Offered in many flavors, including strawberry, peach, apple, cherry and coconut cream.  At Nana's Fried Pies next to the Center Stage Pavilion.

Shrimp Gyro.  Paizi's has added a new item to their Greek menu -- a shrimp gyro.  Tender roasted shrimp nestle amidst fresh Greens, topped with a little Feta, it's a nice light lunch. Paizi's Gyros is located in the Food Court, to the west of center.

This year's Tasty Tom winner
Fried Peaches and Cream. Members of the Arkansas media voting in this year's competition to determine both the best tasting and most creative new state fair food went firmly with this one -- a half a peach on a stick, battered and deep fried, dusted with cinnamon and sugar and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  You'll find it at Fried What? near Gate 5 and the Hall of Industry.

Lollipop Grilled Quail on a Stick
Marvelously grilled quail bites with bell peppers -- healthy, tasty, and unique.  You'll find it at Larry's Cajun and Alligator on a Stick on the south side of the Food Court, near the cow barns.  You can also get it fried with tomatoes.

The Elvis Dog.  A peanut butter and banana topped hot dog.  I kid you not.  The dish is $6.50, and as of early Friday afternoon, NO ONE had chosen to give it a shot.  If you have a hankering to dine like The King, head to the Center Stage Concession.  

Bacon Wrapped Fried Chili Dog
A weiner, wrapped in bacon, deep fried, topped with chili and cheese and deep fried slices of jalapenos and onions.  Not oversized but big on flavor.  You'll find it at Pat's Kitchen, between the center of the Food
Court and the Chicken
Express building.

Get a big cup for refills. This year, there's an $8 Flasher Gripster available from the Big Show Diner and many of the state fair vendors.  It's 32 ounces, has a straw that doubles as a handle, and a flicker light on the bottom.  Kinda cool.  Best part is, if you're planning to visit the fair repeatedly, it's a good deal since refills are $3.  Unless you're planning to drink nothing but chocolate milk, you're in good stead.  No word on whether you can get a refill on beer in one of these, but I'm guessing probably not.

Bird Dog.  The understated cool new fair food this year, found at the McKinney stand just north of the Swine Facility.  It's a big fat strip of chicken battered and
deep fried, topped with nacho cheese, jalapeno slices and bacon, all in a hot dog bun.

Barton Bitter.  A first for the Arkansas State Fair, this is a grand full-flavored hearty brew perfectly pairs with corn dogs and beer-butt chicken as well as funnel cakes and fried Oreos.  Have your draft drawn at the Center Stage Pavilion or the booze booth at the bottom of the stairs next to the Hall of Industry.

Cheesecake Funnel Cake.  Think a funnel cake by itself is rich and delicious?  Try this one, filled with cheesecake batter, deep fried, covered in cinnamon and powdered sugar and cream cheese frosting.  You'll find these at the Hawaiian Snow stand at the end of the midway.

Grilled Chicken and Fruit on a Stick.  The theme of fair food this year seems to be either go wild or get healthy.  This option pairs grilled chicken with fresh pineapple and strawberries.  Healthier than your average combo meal and tasty too!  Find it across the street from the Fried Pie stand, on the road to the Hall of Industry.

Gator on a Stick.  Exactly what it says on the tin -- roasted chunks of deep fried gator and onion on a skewer.  Want a Louisiana flair to your Arkansas State Fair?  Grab one of these along with some red beans and rice or jambalaya at Larry's Cajun Shak in the Food Court.

Deep Fried S'mores and More
Get this -- a S'more -- a graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate, stuffed with a Reeces Peanut Butter Cup, battered and deep fried.  Impossibly sweet.  They come three to an order and are very rich.  Share with your friends.

Chocolate covered strawberry shortcake on a stick.
It's on a stick, it's covered in chocolate, but it's fresh strawberries and light shortcake.  Where could you go wrong?  You'll find this one at the Ozark Candies and Nuts stand inside the Hall of Industry.

Pork Rinds.  These old favorites are easy to snack on and even easier to take home.  Drop by the pork rind shop on the way out -- it's next to the back door of the Hall of Industry, between it and the Arts and Crafts Building.

Jumbo Chili Cheese Nachos. Want a big bowl of naughty?  Burger Wagon in the food court is serving up massive amounts of cheese-covered tortilla chips, and you can add some chili to the mix.  These seemed VERY popular Sunday.

Krispy Kreme Doughnut Burger.  Yes, it's back, and it's still extraordinarily fattening -- a cheeseburger served up on a sliced doughnut.  Want to make it even more decadent?  Add bacon!  You'll find this one at Nana Delicacies, across from Nana's Fried Pies.

Chicken on a Stick.  Simple yet filling, this is just chicken breast battered and deep fried and served on a stick... a massive bit of food, mind you.  You'll find this at the McKinney Concession near the Swine Facility.

Shaved Ice.  Only one place to find it at the fair this year, as far as I can tell -- and that's at the end of the midway, halfway up the hill to the FFA Barn.  This year's flavors improbably include peanut butter, wedding cake and tigerblood... oooookay.

Pork Burger.  This may be surprising to those of us who have lived in Arkansas all our lives, but up north there are places like Iowa and Indiana where burgers are often made from pork.  Want to try one?  Head to the Pork Chop Shop at the end of the midway.

Fried Oreos.  Still popular, still sweet, still that great deep fried dessert to share with friends.  There are several places selling them this year, including the Fried Dough folks and several other vendors on the midway.  For variations, try the dipped Oreos at the
Chicken Shack, or...

Fried Dough-E-Oreos.  Yes, this one's back again.  It's available at Fried What -- a cookie dough-wrapped deep fried Oreo covered in powdered sugar. 

Mega Burger.  The oversized, four patty, bacon and onion-ring laden burger from last year has returned.  A half dozen actually ate the entire construct last year.  Will you join those who have consumed its chili-laden awesomeness? Head to the Center Stage concession.

Coffee.  The second cheapest beverage at the Arkansas State Fair is coffee... available at the Big Show Diner for a dollar.

Corndogs.  There are corn dogs all over the fair -- some pre-made, some hand-dipped, none finer than those brought by Randy's Superdog, which has been coming to the Arkansas State Fair for 36 years now.  Long, longer and longest, they're good meat dogs dipped fresh and deep fried.  Listen for the clanging bell -- that's when they're being pulled from the grease and are ready to go.

Deep Fried Spaghetti and Meatballs on a Stick. Quite possibly the least plausible idea for a state fair food at this year's event, this actually works -- a meatball and spaghetti noodles deep fried and served with marinara and parmesan cheese.  Find it at Pat's Kitchen just west of the Chicken Shack.

Bourbon Chicken.  Skewered chicken soaked in a sweet bourbon sauce roasted on a skewer, then allowed to soak even longer.  Find them at the turkey leg stand uphill from the basketball game on the midway.

Blooming Onion.  Have a crowd?  Choose this alternative to onion rings for a single cohesive unit of onion fried-ness, complete with dipping sauce.  You'll find it for $8 at the Fried Green Tomato stand towards the end of the midway.

Funnel Cakes.  Frankly, they're everywhere, and they come in all sorts of varieties.  Here are three different offerings from Fried Dough, which has several vendors around the fairgrounds.  First -- a traditional funnel cake
topped with powdered sugar and strawberries.

Second, here's a Red Velvet Funnel Cake topped with powdered sugar and cream cheese frosting.  Looks decadent, doesn't it?

And then there are Elephant Ears, which are big flat fried pieces of dough compared to the drizzled strings in a funnel cake.  This one is topped with apples.  
Other choices include chocolate syrup and whipped cream.  

Fried Smooches.  These are battered, dipped and fried Hershey's Kisses, and they are available at the vendor in front of the Tilt-A-Whirl.  Simple and awesome.

Cotton candy.  Okay, here's the deal.  Cotton candy has to be made every single day of the fair.  By its very nature, it does not last.  Get yours fresh.  I mean, just ask if they'll make you a fresh cone.  Some places offer different colors and flavors.  I can't really tell a difference in flavor, can you?  It's just spun sugar.  Might as well get it when it's still warm, right?

Grater Taters.  They're just fresh hot potato chips, really, but isn't that enough?  Get a big pile of these for $6.50 and share them with your friends... or be even more decadent, add chili or cheese for 50 cents (or both for a dollar).

Hubcap Burger.  Hungry?  How about a pound of beef on a bun?  Burger Wagon in the food court is serving up these massive double-handers again this year.  Find someone to share yours with -- they'll even cut it in half for you.

Fried Pickles.  Just yay for fried pickles, okay?  Vendors at the Arkansas State Fair are finally really grasping that this is an Arkansas original that needs to be celebrated.  Different vendors offer theirs battered in cornmeal, bread crumbs or beer batter, so be sure to ask about that batter first.

Candy Apples.  The best deal on candy apples at the Arkansas State Fair is in the kid's area, under the large Cotton Candy Apple sign next to the Crazy Bus.  There, you can get two candy apples for $5 -- which is awesome when you have more than one kid hollering for one.

*Suggestion: Take some quart or gallon sized zip-top bags in your satchel for when said children decide they don't want to spend the time to consume the entire apple before getting on more rides.  Wet towelettes are also a marvelous idea.

Turkey Legs.  They're $10 this year, everywhere I've found them.  They are the fair equivalent of an all-day sucker.  That recommendation about bringing your own ziptop bag?  This is why the adults need them.  You're really going to want to use it for this -- but it's worth it, especially to be able to walk around in public and get your Fred Flintstone on.

Sour Candy.  Yes, Halloween is just a couple of weeks away, but you're at the fair, and what's cooler than nibbling on an epic length of very sour candy?  If that's your game, you'll find this stand inside the Hall of Industry.  Just go in the main doors and head straight back.

Pizza.  Yes, you can still get a big slice of pizza at the pizza stand in the middle of the food court -- epic, three-slice worthy slices of bready, marinara-topped pie.  This year,
you can also get a personal sized pizza at the pizzeria right outside the south door of the Big Show Diner.  

Kebabs.  LOTS of kebabs are out there, of course, but none as steady and meaty as those found at Mickey's Grill in the food court.  Big steaky beef kebabs, herbed chicken on a stick, even pork this year on the grill... those grill marks are genuine, not created by pre-processing.  Get your meat fix here.

Hot Nuts.  If you walk into the Hall of Industry and don't immediately savor the aroma of fresh, hot roasting nuts... well, I can't imagine what's up with you.  Ozark Candy and Nuts has spicy, sweet, chocolate-covered and salted cashews and pecans and even more -- plus, chocolate covered 
Twinkies and cheesecake.

Nut Rolls.  Speaking of nuts, the ever-popular nut rolls are still around.  Covered in pecans or peanuts, they're still being offered at the fudge stand right inside the Hall of Industry.  Best of all, they're very portable for taking home and consuming later, just
like those hot bags of nuts.

And Caramel Nut Apples.  Other places around the state fair offer caramel-covered apples, but for the true caramel nut, you have to go to the fudge and taffy shop inside the Hall of Industry.  Recommendation for next year -- someone needs to start dipping these in chocolate once the nuts and caramel are on, to create a Snickers apple.  Really!  Please!

Popcorn. Sounds crazy, but some folks really do just want to have popcorn and hot dogs at the fair, and that's all right.  You'll find the original plain version inside the Hall of Industry, and kettle corn at the Fried Twinkie shack near the Hall of Industry.

And who wouldn't want a souvenir mug from this guy?
Root Beer.  Want real root beer?  The root beer stand by the Hall of Industry has it, along with decadent hot chocolate and coffee drinks.  Add ice cream to just make it all that much better.  Oh, and there are souvenir mugs.

Lemonade.  Available all over, not just from vendors selling other things but also from wagons such as this one at the midway point in the midway.  Here, it's $4.

Be sure to click here for the new foods at the fair -- and look through this piece to see all the different sorts of fare fair covered in past state fairs.

Need more information?  Check out the menu boards below for how much you should expect to pay for each of the items you seek at the Arkansas State Fair. Click on one you're interested for a closeup view.

Flavors at the Hawaiian Snow Shaved Ice stand by
the Swine Facility, which also serves deep fried
candy bars and deep fried cheesecake, also the
cheesecake funnel cake. 

The Pork Chop Shop is located at the end of the
Midway.  It also serves breakfast.

There are two McKinney trucks -- both located at the end of
the Midway. If you end up at the wrong one, they'll direct
you to the other.

Several trucks offering corn dogs and nachos on the Midway

This station is located at the corner of the last block
before the end of the midway.  

Mad Marty's is located in front of the Starship 4000
on the midway and also has a refill station for your
collectible cups.

Fry City is located at the intersection of the midway
and the corollary that goes just below the barn line
to the Arts and Crafts building -- it's within
eyeshot of the Pig Races.

And yes, that is $8 for a bucket of nachos.

Across from the Pig Races, you'll find one of two
booths serving pork tenderloin sandwiches, big
sausages and philly cheesesteaks.  A second stand
is on the south side of the western line of the midway.

Hiland Dairy set up a stand by the Gator Wrestling,
across from the Pig Races.  This is where you get
ice cream, smoothies and 50 cent milk cartons,

The other tenderloin-bearing stand at the south
end of the western line of the midway.

One of the numerous funnel cake stands.

Menu at the different Fried Dough stands around the

The menu on the Cotton Candy Apples vendor out
in the Kids Zone 

This bucket-o-nachos vendor is the second one in
the center of the midway when you enter through the
main gate.

This Philly cheese steak stand is the second one north
of the intersection of the midway and the road that
leads to the Hall of Industry.

The tiny Chinese American stand actually offers a
really good deal on a refillable 32 ounce cup, but the
refill is only at this stand. Cups are $4 and refills are
$2.  Oh, and it's the only place to get Chinese food at
this year's Arkansas State Fair.

Porky's board.  Note the Rocky Mountain Oysters.
Big Show Diner, Chicken/Shrimp/Catfish and Sandwich board

Big Show Diner, Southern Blue Plate and Specialties board

Big Show Diner, Mexican food board

Big Show Diner, kid's meals, desserts and beverage board

Yes, turkey legs are $10 pretty much across the entire fairgrounds.

Bottled colas are $3 at this stand south of the Big Show Diner.

Center Stage concession stand

Ice Cream flavors from the stand across from the Big Show
Diner's south door.

The menu board for the concession stand right inside the door of
the Hall of Industry.

The fudge and candy apple stand inside the Hall of Industry.

Beverage and snack board at the Chicken Shack.

Second Chicken Express sign with chicken on it.

Roasted Corn stand in the Food Court

Larry's Cajun Shack menu

Burger Wagon menu

Paizi's Gyros menu

Mangia Mia menu at west side of food court

Mickey's Grill menu in food court.

Menu from the place with the humongous iron skillet
near gate 5

Menu from the place to the west of the place with the
big iron skillet near Gate 5.

Cheto's, the authentic Mexican food truck, is
located between Gate 5 and the Center Stage

And this is the stand next door that offes
deep fried manicotti, T-Ravs, all sorts of
crazy things.

Menu from the inflatable lemonade stand near the
food court

Menu at the Pineapple Whip stand

Menu at the Root Beer stand right beside the Hall of Industry.

The fried Twinkie stand menu (it's the hexagonal gray building
next to the Hall of Industry).

The menu at the pork rind stand near the Hall
of Industry.
The full menu for Hawaiian Snow reveals
several gourmet cheesecakes.

Iced tea prices - Lipton stands are in the food court and
at the end of the midway.

Two Brothers Concession, next to the pig races

Prices for Two Brothers Concessions, which
is next to the pig races.
Porky's menu on the midway

Turkey legs are just $9 at Mickey's Grill.

Alligator on a Stick on the south side of the food court
also takes plastic!
Chris's Corndogs is on the south side of the food court.

The full menu at Chicken Shack Express includes some
of Letha's Fried Pies as well as chocolate dipped Oreos.

Inside the Hall of Industry, one row past the entrance.

Bonus photos!
Since you've read this far down the post, here are bonus photos just for you!


Peppers and onions sizzle alongside a gigantic Italian sausage. 
This man finds this beer dear.

It takes about 2.8 seconds for this woman to swipe that yellow cotton candy
out of that sugar spinner.

Hunter decides she wants to make a corn angel at the FFA barn.

Should this be this post's motto?


  1. Wow! Great post. I adore fair food and have tried a bunch of these although my favorites are the old standbys - corn dogs and grater taters. We did try the chocolate covered bacon a couple of years ago. Not a fan of that!

  2. What an awesome post! Do you do this every year and I just missed it? One question tho. Where was the German Potato Salad sold?

  3. Also I'm pretty sure those steaks you have pictures of are really giant pork chops. And they are delicious!


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