Soon the heat of summer will give way to a seemingly everlasting bitter winter and all the carni folk will migrate elsewhere, taking with them all their delicious and magical foods. You still have time to indulge in the carnival’s deep-fried decadence before they pack up and say goodbye until next year, so what are you waiting for?
Run to your local fairground while you still can, make your way past the bearded lady (okay, maybe they don’t have one at your state fair), past the prize winning Holsteins and the too-big-to-be-true zucchini, and follow the intoxicating scent of fresh funnel cakes still hot from the fryer. Revel in the powdered sugar that coats your fingers and lips as you tear it apart piece by scrumptious piece. Chill out with a snow cone made from freshly shaved ice and dripping with your favorite flavored syrup and take a ride on the Ferris wheel while you’re at it. As you stroll amongst the ring toss and test your strength games, nibble the perfectly portable corndog—that golden cornmeal battered hotdog on a stick (preferably hand-dipped) never tastes as good as when it is consumed at the fair. On your way out, pick up a bag of sweet and salty kettle corn or candy apple or two. Enjoy this fleeting frenzy of the carnival’s culinary delights, because like getting fresh local strawberries, it only happens once a year. Oh, and don’t forget to say goodbye to that bearded lady on your way out. — Jenna Derhammer