What to Eat at the Maryland State Fair This Year

From competitively hilarious lumberjack shows to rides on the famous Riptide rollercoaster, the Maryland State Fair is full of fun thrills to make the end of summer a little less sad. But perhaps the best part of the annual Timonium event, which returns for three weekends August 24 through September 10, is stopping at stands along the Midway to sample classic fair foods.

Aside from the old standbys—pit beef, funnel cakes, deep-fried Oreos, kettle corn, and the like—organizers also make it a priority to feature eats that spotlight local chefs and growers in the fair’s Maryland Foods Pavilion, located in front of Cow Palace, to the left of the Midway. There’s even The Mallet Food Competition, in which vendors receive awards in categories like Best Sweet, Best Savory, and Most Unique for their culinary creations.

“We have such a vibrant, unique food scene in the Baltimore region,” says Jeremy D’Angelo, who oversees many of the fair’s vendors. “So, in discussions with our staff and with the vendors, we tried to think about how we could match that vibrancy that you see in Baltimore, and really step up our food offerings.”

So how, exactly, is the fair taking it to the next level this year? Below, we’ve compiled a list of featured offerings—new and old—not-to-miss:

Mini Mac and Cheese Donuts: Fan-favorite food truck Deddle’s Mini Donuts is rolling out these bite-sized treats especially for the fair. The sweet circles are topped with scratch-made mac and cheese and a sprinkle of savory bacon bits for good measure.

Cambodian Street Corn: A twist on the classic corn on the cob, this vegetarian, vegan, gluten- and dairy-free corn is typically roasted and covered in a sweet-and-savory glaze made from reduced coconut milk, butter, sugar, sea salt, and scallions. This year, you can also try a truffle oil-topped version of the uniquely Cambodian delicacy, which is traditionally served during big celebrations.

Crab Cake Egg Rolls: Jimmy’s Famous Seafood is taking over the seafood stand in the Maryland Foods Pavilion this year, serving up the Dundalk restaurant’s iconic crab cake egg rolls. The handheld dish—a deep-fried blend of crab cake and cream cheese tucked into an egg roll wrapper—is served on a bed of Asian slaw and topped with mango ponzu and spicy mayo.

Maryland Peach Sundaes: Maryland Foods Pavilion director Stanley Dabkowski says that this locally sourced sundae is “probably the fair favorite” year after year. If you’ve found your mouth watering after seeing them on social media, get to the fair this year to try out the soft serve vanilla ice cream layered with local fresh peaches and topped with hefty dollops of whipped cream.

Deep Fried Watermelon: Balls of watermelon are scooped out, battered, and deep-fried to create this delicious Filipino snack. We can’t think of a more fitting treat to combine the end of summer with State Fair traditions.

Candy Apple Lollipops: If you want the taste of the classic candy apple without the mess, check out these colorful pops from nationally known amusement purveyor Deggeller Attractions, which are made from the sugary coating that covers the fan-favorite snack-on-a-stick.

Open Faced Grilled Cheese Sandwiches: Dabkowski’s creation took home first place in last year’s New Food category. If you missed it then, it’s making a comeback this season. The sandwich is topped with a stack of local fried green tomatoes and finished off with a few spoonfuls of corn salsa that’s made on site.

Sasha Allen is an editorial intern at Baltimore. She is a rising junior at the University of Maryland studying journalism with a minor in creative writing. She’s a reporter for The Diamondback’s news desk, where she’s covered state politics and the student government association. In her free time, Sasha enjoys reading and spending time outside with friends and family.

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