The 154th Ag Fair, foodie edition

A refreshing Italian ice is a break from the heavier food options at the Ag Fair. — Photo by Marnely Murray

Every year the fair comes around, and every year I look forward to one thing: the food. Not the rides, not the animals, not even the racing pigs. In fact, I myself become a racing pig of sorts while I’m there, trying to hit as many food stalls as possible. I take in the sights along the way if I can, as long as they don’t interrupt my food agenda, of course.

There’s no right or wrong way to enjoy the delicious delicacies that make up fair food. I typically start with a small sweet bite, then switch to savory, and finish with even more sweets. This year I began with an Espresso Float — it had just the right amount of caffeine to keep me going through my fairground adventures. Once I was buzzing about with the extra energy, I could tackle the real food — the bites I’ve waited for all year long.

Next I went for the tacos by the Loco Taco, who served up some of the most complex and delicious tacos on-Island this past weekend. The pulled chicken tacos were accompanied by a salsa verde and slaw, which made for a tasty combination of spice and texture.

Then I got down and dirty with a couple of tender, fall-off-the-bone BBQ ribs; after all, it wouldn’t be the fair without them. I grabbed a picnic table and decided to “snack” on some ribs after indulging in the tacos. After all, a girl needs her protein.

In order to take advantage of a wide variety of fair food, it’s important to take a couple of breaks in between eating; I try playing a game or two to keep my energy up. Maybe darts is your thing, or you’ve got a knack for drowning clowns with your fast and targeted pitch. You’re going to need a distraction, because by now your body is trying to tell you it’s reached capacity — but there’s still so much more food to be had!

After a game or two, Local Smoke called my name. Literally, I think I could hear the pulled pork whisper my name. Smoked and roasted by the local favorite Everett Whiting, the pulled pork sandwich was served with either tomato and corn salad or a potato salad, both great choices. I tend to be that person who wants a little bit of both, and they kindly obliged. New this year was their BBQ Sundae: layers of cornbread, potato salad, BBQ sauce, and pulled pork, all served in a small bowl, just like an ice cream sundae!

When I needed another break, I went straight for the Italian ice. There’s nothing like thinly shaved ice to get your body digesting all the previous food (not sure of the actual medical claims on that), but it’s a cool treat on a hot summer day, so it’s always a good idea. Nothing could be better until … you remember the funnel cakes.

Funnel cakes are quite possibly my favorite reason to go to the fair, and this year they did not disappoint. There was even a pumpkin-spice flavor funnel cake, but I honestly wasn’t ready for fall flavors yet, so I stuck with the classic, and I’m glad I did. Crispy on the edges, chewy and sweet in the center, covered and smothered in powdered sugar. It’s a food lover’s dream come true, and a dream I never wanted to end. Finally, as I walked toward the exit sign, with a full belly and wide smile, I rejoiced in what August on the Island was all about.

At that moment, I’d forgotten about the traffic, the endless lines at the post office, the impolite crowds at the grocery store. I breathed a sigh of relief, and gave a silent thank-you to the fair, whispering, “See you next year.”