State fairs were cancelled all over the country last year including up in Madison and it looks like the food vendors took that time to create some masterpieces.

I learned something today. There's a competition at the Wisconsin State Fair called the Sporkies that crowns the best food at the fair every year. They have a logo and everything. 

They selected these 8 finalists and will announce the winner 2 days prior to the fair and they will receive a 13ft. tall golden spork to place in front of their booth as a trophy. It's pretty cool.

So they just announced the final 8 the other day. Let's take a look at the finalists in reverse order of how much I want to eat them. There are no losers here. I'd gladly spend an evening with any of these dishes, some more than others.

8. Peanut Butter Squealer

Description: A maple-infused breakfast sausage baked inside a delicious Belgian waffle. Served on a stick and smothered in peanut butter and topped with real bacon. 

While sounding delicious, this appears to be a little too sweet. It's really the only thing on the list that doesn't make my mouth water thinking about it.

7. Glazy Boy (great name)

Description: The Glazy Boy is two grilled Grebe's glazed doughnuts, pressed with two slices of BelGioioso Fontina chieese, brined and slow-smoked pork loin, raspberry whole grain mustard, and pickled jalapenos. 

This sounds amazing but there's A LOT going on. That's quite a few flavors that have to meld just right. This could be the belle of the ball but there's a lot of room for error. I would split this with 4 people.

6. Cinnamon Roll and Bacon Cheese Curds

Description: Fresh squeaky cheese curds are dipped in a sweet beer batter laced with crispy bacon, dredged in flour, cinnamon, and powdered sugar, then deep fried and rolled in more cinnamon sugar. Drizzled with rich cream cheese frosting and topped with bacon crumbles. 

Another sweet entry that's trying to sell me on candied cheese. I'm game.

5. Deep-Fried Pineapple Express

Description: Trio of pineapple rings rolled in coconut and sweet panko breading, deep fried, drizzled with piña colada glaze, and dusted with powdered sugar.

I love grilled pineapple and this is probably even better. These also might low-key be the messiest of the bunch to eat.

4. Deep-Fried Wisconsin Fish Fry

Description: All the traditional elements of a famous Wisconsin Fish Fry rolled together and deep fried! Served with a side of lemon and house made tartar sauce. 

Wisconsin knows fish frys and these look like little fish fry egg rolls. Absolutely yes.

3. Sorrentina Bites

Description: Ditalini pasta with a blend of three Italian cheeses, breaded with our homemade Italian breadcrumbs. Served with your choice of our signature Vodka sauce or our famous Marinara sauce. 

These sound like a ramped up version of arancini. I love arancini. I'll take a dozen.

2. Polish Puppies On-a-Stick 

Description: Deep fried hush puppies stuffed with Klement’s Jalapeno Polish, sautéed onions, sauerkraut, and cheddar cheese. Served with a side of buttermilk chive dipping sauce. 

I'm just fascinated by these. Sounds simple enough and is a little spicy. Throw another dozen in the bag.

1. Paradise Po' Boy

Description: Coconut shrimp deep fried until golden brown placed on a freshly baked bun on a bed of tropical homemade slaw. Covered in key lime tarter sauce. 

I've never been to a state fair in my live but this might get me to break the streak. Po' boys are awesome. Shrimp and lime are incredible together. This looks like it could be a mess but a mess that's totally worth it.

The Wisconsin State Fair will run from Aug.5 to 15 and the Golden Sporkie will be announced on Aug. 3rd.

2021 Fairs and Festivals Happening in the Rockford Area

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