Dec 15, 2019
The Krispy Kreme triple-decker cheeseburger sold at the Chicken Charlie booth located at the Big Fresno fair. Darlene Wendels / The Collegian

The ups and downs of fair food

It is that time of year again when you can satisfy your craving for corn dogs and cinnamon rolls. Instead of trying the traditional fair food, stop by one of the nontraditional booths this year and gorge on the seasonal smorgasbord.

This year you can find bison tacos at the Indian Fry Taco booth, as well as pure cane sugar sodas at Wild Bill’s Old Fashion Soda Co.

One of the newest food attractions is the kettle corn being sold at Golden Kettle Corn, where they have concocted Fruit Loop kettle corn.

The individual kernel flavors include blue raspberry, cherry, banana, green apple and grape. When you try the multicolored pieces individually, you can taste each individual fruit flavor.

The trick is to stuff as many flavors in your mouth at once to get that Fruit Loop flavor. It is like a breakfast party in your mouth.

The booth also offers amazing pink popcorn, similar to the popcorn that is sold in bricks at the grocery store, except that this popcorn isn’t stale and coagulated.

Now for the fair travesty: the “triple-decker cheeseburger.” This monstrosity is served at the Chicken Charlie booth. It is three beef patties with three slices of American cheese smashed together by two glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

The burger stands about 6 inches tall and costs you $11 and your dignity. There is a certain appeal, or charm, if you will, about eating this spectacle. If you have ever had a burger made with a Hawaiian bun, this is the same concept. It is a sweet and savory combination that is not unpleasant.

It does take a certain amount of unhealthy determination to finish the burger. It is just a lot of meat. You’re lucky if you can walk away from the food court without getting the meat sweats after this.    

If you are looking for something a little more healthy, check out the Fresh Fruit booth to the right of the entrance.

The booth is selling fruit cups doused in chili and lime, as well as the aesthetically pleasing “mangoniada.” This mango slushie includes fresh diced mango with chamoy and chili, topped with a candy tamarind straw. For a refreshing way to escape the Fresno heat, pick up one of these while you walk around the fair.  

Another somewhat healthy option is to check out the chicken kabobs being sold at Garliky’s. The booth has an open air grill that wafts the smell of roasted chicken and zucchini over the crowds. The kabobs are massive, so be prepared to share this bad boy with a friend.

One of the greatest highlights of the food booths is the Willamette Valley Pie Co. If you stop here, talk to the man whose name tag reads “Pretty Boy.” You can’t miss him. He’s in a pink apron. He will tell you to order what he calls “crack in a bowl.”

The so called “crack in a bowl” is a cobbler with five different berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, marionberries and boysenberries). This is served warm, with a hearty scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

“Crack in a bowl” has discernible fruit in it, so forget about picking up a funnel cake – whose fabricated fruit syrup is questionable at best. Opt to walk around the fair with your ice cream and cobbler. People will stop and ask you what you’re eating and where they can find it. This might be the biggest compliment that you can give fair food: it tastes and looks good.

Pick up any of these once-a-year treats and enjoy the Big Fresno Fair. The Big Fresno Fair is in town from Oct 7 to 18.

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