The Florida State Fair is typically the first in the nation instead of during the summer like most, so it gets the first crack at the wonders of the deep fryer. Remember that glazed doughnut hamburger now found at most fairs? It debuted here.
Because of the pandemic, the fair was delayed by two months, opening April 22 and running through May 2.
This year you’ll find a pickle pizza, a Hot Cheetos Funnel Cake and a twist on tater tots with peanut butter and spicy jelly among the gut busters. The vendors like to play with expectations, making “nachos” from gelato and cookies, or a “sundae” of chicken tenders drizzled with spicy giardiniera relish. Here are some of the offerings:
Pickle Pizza: Angela’s Concessions found a way to marry this uncommon pair with a white garlic sauce base on a pizza topped with mozzarella cheese and dill pickles. After it comes out of the oven, it’s garnished with ranch and dill seasoning.
Flaming Hot Cheetos Funnel Cake: The Best Around continues to play with funnel cake recipes, this time bringing the heat with Flaming Hot Cheetos to funnel cake mix that is made with cornmeal, spices, fresh jalapeños and crushed spicy Cheetos. After being fried it is topped with nacho cheese and more Cheetos.
Peanut Butter and Spicy Jelly Tater Tots: The sweet and savory pair comes from Swift Concessions Tots. Peanut butter and spicy jelly tater tots look messy but hit all the greasy, salty and sweet taste points.
Buffalo Chicken Sundae: This savory take on a sundae from DeAnna’s Steak Sundaes features hand-cut french fries layered with ranch sauce, freshly battered chicken tenders smothered in southwest sauce and spicy giardiniera relish on top.
Gelato Nachos: Inspired by the football stadium staple, Funky Flamingo created gelato nachos and tacos that feature soft-serve gelato in flavors like salted caramel, tutti frutti, espresso and cheesecake. The chips and shells are made from their secret stroopwafel recipe.
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Deep Fried Caramel Apple Sundae: DeAnna’s Steak Sundaes aimed to please with this one — doughnut holes rolled in cinnamon sugar, layered with cream cheese frosting, sautéed caramel apples topped with whipped cream and caramel drizzle.
The Pig Rig: The barbecue staples of pulled pork and mac & cheese come together in one grilled cheese sandwich. This year Low N’ Slow is bringing the two together for the ultimate guilty pleasure. The Pig Rig is a grilled cheese stuffed with pulled pork and mac n’ cheese finished with their signature BBQ sauce.
If you go
Florida State Fair: With rides, food, exhibits and a midway, the fair runs April 22-May 2. Masks are required and sanitation stations are available through out the midway. 4800 U.S. 301 N, Tampa.
Admission: $9, $7 seniors, $5 ages 6-11, 5 and younger free. floridastatefair.com.