The Illinois State Fair runs through this weekend, so if you haven't fulfilled your minimum yearly requirements of strange things fried on-a-stick, you might want to be on your way to Springfield. If not, let's enjoy some of this food from afar.

When you think of "Fair food," chances are you're thinking of something on a stick. Finding a way to serve up something on a skewer of some sort has become the trademark of fairs, whether we're talking county or state.

At the Illinois State Fair, the greatest hope of food purveyors is to win the "Golden Abe." The Golden Abe Fantastic Fair Foods Contest is hotly contested every year, with four finalists selected then eliminated until there's only one standing. This year's Golden Abe winner was Mike Mills of 17th Street BBQ for his "Slaw Dog." The other three finalists were Deep Fried S’mores from Gelato Bravo, Strawberry Shortcake Funnel Cake from Paulette’s Food Service, and Lobster Mac and Cheese from Hy-Vee.

Some of the other unusual delicacies available at the Illinois State Fair include:

  • Pork Hullabaloo: pork belly wrapped in thick slices of applewood smoked bacon, glazed with bacon marmalade, on a stick.
  • Fried Jellybeans: jellybeans in funnel cake batter, fried until nicely browned, and topped with powdered sugar.
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs on a Stick: strands of cooked spaghetti are added to the meatball mix, which, when formed, is garlic-battered, deep-fried, and dipped in marinara sauce.
  • Scotch eggs: hard-boiled and wrapped in sausage meat and bread crumbs, then deep-fried, on a stick.
  • Snap, Krackle, & Fluff on a Stick: marshmallows skewered on either side of a Rice Krispie Treat. The whole thing is then dipped in batter, deep-fried, and topped with sweetened, condensed milk, powdered sugar, chocolate, and caramel.
  • Pork Parfait: the pork parfait layers potatoes, barbecue sauce, and pulled pork in an ice cream sundae glass for a savory lunch on-the-go. Eat it with a spork, of course.
  • Road Kill: represents fried dough at its very weirdest. Deep-fried and flattened into the shape of a dead possum or rat and dressed with a variety of berry sauces and syrups to resemble oozing blood and guts.
  • Alligator on a Stick: This favorite at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield is deep-fried and skewered, teriyaki style. (Fans say alligator tastes like pork and is similar to veal in texture.)

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