First off, yes, by the time anyone reads this the Fair will be on its last day.  Maybe next year they should just invite me to Media Day.

Maybe it’s just because I’m a Syracuse native, but the Great New York State Fair just seems so overrated.  I’m not even trying to say anything pseudo-deep about consumerism or the military industrial complex, but the fact that there always seems to be just as many hot tub displays, pickup truck salesmen and military recruitment kiosks as there are food stands just seems to drain all the fun out of it.  I love roller coasters, tilt-a-whirls and the like, but I just can’t bring myself to trust the variety that are built in a day (or at least I’d be more willing to take the chance if I didn’t have to pay for each individual ride…). Also apparently a fight broke out at the Juice WRLD concert.

The only draw left would be the food, or at least in theory.   Deep fried Oreos had their fun, but even they get a little old after a while.   Isn’t anyone doing anything new with it?

As it turns out, according to a few of my coworkers, they really stepped up their game this year, so I figured I’d give it another try.

Caramel Crack Fries- $7

I ordered this specifically for the sake of making this blog as cursed as possible.  French fries topped with caramel, cinnamon sugar, whipped cream and Fruity Pebbles? That can’t possibly be good.

Except that it was.

It makes sense when you think about it. It’s basically like eating a funnel cake, if you forget about the fact that it’s made from potatoes. And most of the caramel sinks to the bottom, so you can ease into it if you’re still nervous about the salty and sweet thing.  The absolute madmen at Big Kahuna’s really are onto something here.  

I ultimately had to detract some points for the Fruity Pebbles, though, because with nothing else fruity going on, they really just didn’t belong.


The Milky Bun- $5

Behold, the ice cream sandwich of the 21st century! Your choice of twelve varieties of ice cream and twelve different toppings (mostly cereals) stuffed within a warm donut. I got mint chocolate ice cream with Oreo pieces.  It’s a shame that there isn’t more coverage on these things in the media circus that always surrounds the Fair. Unfortunately they’re doomed to live in the shadow of the 25 cent milk stand, given their stand’s location at the opposite end of the Dairy Building. 

I have to admit, I had one of these last year too (with salted caramel ice cream and Cinnamon Toast Crunch).  Not only was that one’s donut wasn’t warm, but also I had opted to get that one with a thick layer of glaze, which made it almost impossible to eat.  You’d think the hot donut melting the ice cream would have been a more prominent hassle than having it just be really sticky, but somehow that wasn’t an issue.  

8/10 without glaze, 7/10 with

The Sudden Death- $13

I’m so fucking mad, yall.

This is one of the things that I had the highest hopes for.  Mac & cheese and pork belly stuffed between two burger patties, wrapped in a bacon weave and deep fried? This is the epitome of disgustingly delicious over-the-top fair food! Its creator, the cleverly named Fried Specialties, has even been featured on Cooking Channel’s Carnival Eats.

Except none of these components worked the way they should have.  

The burgers were tough and grisley. The pork belly stuffing was just regular bacon.  The bacon weave, regardless of whatever Epic Meal Time may tell you, is never a good idea as they rarely cook through all the way, and this one was no exception.  The fact that the whole thing was fried without any kind of breading or batter did make the outside fairly crispy, but extremely greasy. The only part of this that was passable was the mac & cheese, which was a step above my last fair mac cheese experience (fried mac & cheese bites that tasted and looked like knockoff Kraft), but still nothing special 


Wine Slushie- $5

For years, those who are of-age have considered the wine slushie to be synonymous with the fair, that you just can’t have one without the other.  Considering the only thing I had to drink at my aforementioned trip last year was hard cider (I was with a friend and a friend of that friend, whose hypermasculine ass would have called me slurs for getting a wine slushie) that left us feeling extra dehydrated in the summer heat, I was hesitant this year to try one of these, but knew I couldn’t write a post about the fair without it.

The taste was a fairly basic red wine blend.  Just tannic enough, and a little sweet.   I’m not sure it it’s because the alcohol lowers the freezing point of the drink, but this slushie didn’t have the problem that I usually have with slushies, where I drink it all too quickly and am left with a blob of flavorless ice.  For a minute, I understood the hype.

Unfortunately, my fears proved to be well grounded, as shortly after I finished it, any refreshment that the ice cold slushie had provided had began to wear off and that hot and heavy feeling started to creep in.  My sister also had one, and within 20 minutes was begging for us to leave. But considering how many wine slushie venders there are, I’m guessing maybe I’m the only one who feels this way. idk, drinking, hot weather, and walking around just don’t mix.

7/10 on its own, 4/10 when factoring in the rest of the fair experience

Final Verdict

I would say that, ultimately, it’s a bit of a toss-up on whether or not the Fair is still ”worth it.”  I would say that the food this year was definitely more creative than what I’ve seen in past years. However, the real diamonds in the rough come in the form of more snackable items, and the price of grazing all day plus the $10 admission (not to mention the added costs of parking/taking the bus in) can add up quickly.  But, if you go on a $1 day, or a day with a free concert that interests you, or you’re not an asshole like me and use the Fair as an excuse to hang out with friends and family or whatever, then you’ll probably get your money’s worth out of it then.    

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