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Pop Rock Pickles? Here’s the wild food coming to Tampa’s Florida State Fair

Poutine, Barbie pink icing, pickles and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos all make appearances on this year’s list of new food challenges.
 
One of the new foods offered at the Florida State Fair this year will be the Pop Rock Pickle. It's a kosher pickle wrapped in a Fruit Roll-Up dipped in chocolate and rolled in your choice of Pop Rocks, Fruity Pebbles or Flamin' Hot Cheetos.
One of the new foods offered at the Florida State Fair this year will be the Pop Rock Pickle. It's a kosher pickle wrapped in a Fruit Roll-Up dipped in chocolate and rolled in your choice of Pop Rocks, Fruity Pebbles or Flamin' Hot Cheetos. [ Florida State Fair ]
Published Jan. 9|Updated Feb. 14

UPDATE: This story had been updated to add some new additions to the fair’s food lineup: Banana Cream Pie Nachos, Cheddar Pickle Crunch Pizza and the Florida Quesadilla that features gator nuggets.

Brace yourself and grab the Alka-Seltzer: The Florida State Fair has rolled out nearly two dozen new food concoctions for the brave souls who crave food on a stick on the midway. And this year has some doozies.

There’s the Pop Rock Pickle, a kosher pickle wrapped in a Fruit Roll-up, then dipped in chocolate and rolled in your choice of Pop Rocks, Fruity Pebbles or Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The Honey Bunny Curd Burger is a hamburger topped with cheese curds and nestled between two Honey Buns, the vending machine staple. Poutine, Barbie pink icing, pickles and Spam all make appearances on the fair’s list of new food challenges. Some, like the Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Tea or the Bacon Waffle Cheeseburger, are just indulgent innovations.

The state fair, which runs in Tampa Feb. 8-19, is the first state fair in the country every year, thanks to Florida’s mild winter weather. It is famous, or possibly infamous, for debuting weird food combinations that make headlines around the world.

It is the birthplace of the Donut Burger, the Donut Dog and the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Funnel Cake. So be proud, Tampa.

If you are ready to shed that New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, here are the temptations that will be offered this year at the Florida State Fair.

Pop Rock Pickle: Found at Shockley’s Food Service, the kosher pickle, which was the star of 2021′s state fair food stall hit the Pickle Pizza, instead goes the sweet route. After it is dipped in chocolate you get your choice of outer layers in the fizzy candy, Flintstones breakfast cereal or scorching hot corn puffs.

Among the new foods at the Florida State Fair this year, the Honey Bunny Curd Burger. It's a burger covered with gooey cheese curds and nestled between two Honey Buns.
Among the new foods at the Florida State Fair this year, the Honey Bunny Curd Burger. It's a burger covered with gooey cheese curds and nestled between two Honey Buns. [ Florida State Fair ]

Honey Bunny Curd Burger: A flame-grilled burger will be covered with a blanket of gooey cheese curds and nestled between two Honey Buns.

The Tempermental Hog Funnel Cake uses cornmeal and BBQ seasoning rub to create a crunchy  funnel cake that is topped with pulled pork. It comes in three "temperaments" of heat.
The Tempermental Hog Funnel Cake uses cornmeal and BBQ seasoning rub to create a crunchy funnel cake that is topped with pulled pork. It comes in three "temperaments" of heat. [ Florida State Fair ]

Temperamental Hog Funnel Cake: The funnel cake mix is combined with cornmeal and barbecue seasoning rub to create a crunchy funnel cake that is topped with pulled pork. It comes in three “temperaments.” Choose from Happy (sweet), Angry (hot) and Furious (super hot). “Then we smooth it down with cream cheese,” according to concessioner The Best Around.

Among the new foods at the Florida State Fair this year is Fried Spam Grilled Cheese. It features pan-fried Spam layered with melted cheese between toasted bread.
Among the new foods at the Florida State Fair this year is Fried Spam Grilled Cheese. It features pan-fried Spam layered with melted cheese between toasted bread. [ Florida State Fair ]
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Fried Spam Grilled Cheese: The sandwich features crispy pan-fried Spam layered with melted cheese between toasted bread. Found at Showstopper Concessions.

The Barbie Funnel Cake celebrates the pink queen in a funnel cake with powdered sugar, Barbie pink Icing and two kinds of sprinkles.
The Barbie Funnel Cake celebrates the pink queen in a funnel cake with powdered sugar, Barbie pink Icing and two kinds of sprinkles. [ Florida State Fair ]

Barbie Funnel Cake: The hot color of the year is pink, and this funnel cake comes with powdered sugar, Barbie pink icing and two kinds of sprinkles. Made by Paulette’s Food Service.

Among the new foods at the Florida State Fair this year is the vegetarian version of Bang Bang Tacos. Fried cauliflower, oyster mushroom or vegan shrimp are tossed with Bang Bang sauce on flour or corn tortillas, filled with Asian slaw and topped with vegan creama, cilantro, green onion and chili pepper.
Among the new foods at the Florida State Fair this year is the vegetarian version of Bang Bang Tacos. Fried cauliflower, oyster mushroom or vegan shrimp are tossed with Bang Bang sauce on flour or corn tortillas, filled with Asian slaw and topped with vegan creama, cilantro, green onion and chili pepper. [ Florida State Fair ]

Bang Bang Tacos: The vegetarian version of the popular taco comes with fried cauliflower, oyster mushrooms or vegan shrimp tossed with Bang Bang sauce on flour or corn tortillas. They are filled with Asian slaw and topped with vegan crema, cilantro, green onion and chili pepper. Produced by Seasoned Green.

The Oreo Cookie Cinnamon Bun is a unique combination that melds the flavors of a classic Oreo cookie with the taste of a cinnamon bun.
The Oreo Cookie Cinnamon Bun is a unique combination that melds the flavors of a classic Oreo cookie with the taste of a cinnamon bun. [ Florida State Fair ]

Oreo Cookie Cinnamon Bun: A unique combination that melds the flavors of a classic Oreo cookie with the taste of a cinnamon bun. Found at Cinnamon Saloon.

A new food offering at this year's Florida State Fair is a BBQ Fried Burrito. It is a barbecued pulled pork and mac and cheese-stuffed burrito that is then deep fried.
A new food offering at this year's Florida State Fair is a BBQ Fried Burrito. It is a barbecued pulled pork and mac and cheese-stuffed burrito that is then deep fried. [ Florida State Fair ]

BBQ Fried Burrito: This diet buster is a burrito stuffed with barbecued pulled pork and mac and cheese that is then deep-fried to perfection. It is found at Low N Slow Catering.

Pickle Ranch Loaded French Fries: The many twists on pickles continue with this pile of loaded french fries topped with cheddar, bacon and pickle ranch. Found at Chester’s Gators & Taters.

Spicy Korean Corndog: This food on a stick is a hot dog dipped in buttermilk batter, layered with cheese and rolled in crushed spicy hot Cheetos. Found at Seivers Smokehouse Grill.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Iced Tea: Freshly brewed iced tea is flavored with strawberry and chocolate. It comes topped with three chocolate-dipped strawberries. Found at Tiki Tea.

Jalapeno Lemonade: The fair’s famous fresh-squeezed lemonade is made with a surprise hint of jalapeno. Sweet and slightly spicy. Found at Coastal Concessions.

Bacon Waffle Cheeseburger: At Macken’s Sliders, an all-beef patty is topped with cheddar cheese and applewood smoked bacon, served between two Belgian waffles with pearl sugar baked into the waffle.

Banana Cream Pie Funnel Cake: A hot funnel cake is topped with banana pudding, whipped cream and graham cracker crust. Found at Ryals Concessions Sweet Shop.

Campfire Dog: An all-beef hot dog is topped with baked beans and applewood bacon. Found at DeAnna’s Donut Burger.

Strawberry Shortcake Kebab: For this food on a stick, mini doughnuts and fresh strawberry kebabs are topped with icing, fresh lemon zest, whipped cream and lemon-infused honey. “Feeling adventuresome? Dip it in chocolate,” said the creators at DeAnna’s Fried Banana Pudding.

Waffle Chicken Sandwich: As the The Bean Bar Co. describes it: “Two waffles: Pepperjack cheese for that spicy kick, chicken tenders and two eggs. It’s the best brunch around town. Pair this with a Cuban coffee and you’re set.”

Lemonade Funnel Cake: Classic funnel cake comes with a sweet lemon-flavored topping. It can be found at Topscan Funnel Cakes.

Bacon, Caramel, Peanut Butter Apple Fries: Crisp apples cut into the shape of steak fries are deep-fried, coated in cinnamon sugar and topped with bacon, Ghirardelli caramel and peanut butter powder. Fairgoers have the option of adding ice cream. Found at the Apple Fries booth.

Poutine Burger: A flame-grilled burger is topped with fries, warm cheese curds and gravy and served on a homemade bun. Found at DeAnna’s Donut Burger.

Banana Cream Pie Nachos: Flour tortilla chips tossed in cinnamon sugar, topped with banana pudding, whipped cream, graham cracker crumbs, and fresh bananas. Found at Rosie’s Nachos.

Cheddar Pickle Crunch Pizza: Homemade pizza dough, ranch sauce, mozzarella, loads of pickles and goldfish crackers, topped with a cheddar ranch dill drizzle. Found at Pizza Emporium.

Florida Quesadilla: Gator nuggets and shredded cheese are cooked to a golden brown and served with salsa and sour cream. Found at Mexican Grill.

If you go

Florida State Fair: The fair, which has been held in Tampa since 1904, runs Feb. 8-19. Admission is $11, $7 for age 6-11 and $9 for seniors 55 and older (weekdays only). Ride armbands are $22-$54. Gates open at 11 a.m. Monday-Thursday and at 10 a.m. Friday-Sunday. Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. 813-621-7821. FloridaStateFair.com.