I love the California State Fair. I love county fairs, too, but the State Fair is the best. When I lived in Sacramento, I’d go many times. One day would be spent just looking at the big exhibition halls and the County exhibits. Another day would be spent in the smaller exhibition halls with the chickens, rabbits, and art exhibits from youths. One day would be spent taking my brother where we’d go through all the exhibits, play some midway games and look at all the animals in the livestock barns. I rarely rode rides in the midway, though one year I did and my best friend got super sick. Yuck.
Every year I would swear I was going to try something exotic in the food vendor alley. Alligator-on-a-stick? Jerk Chicken? Deep fried onion blossom? I’d walk the entire length of Food Alley looking at the huge smokers at the barbecue joints, salivating over the idea of cheesecake-on-a-stick, wondering if alligator was really worth the price. What did I choose? Every single time I went to the fair I would get the same thing: corn dog and lemonade from Hog Dog on A Stick.
The girls working at Hot Dog on a Stick had those awful sleeveless striped tunics, and those tall silly striped hats. One girl would be in the back with a bucket of lemons and what looked like a plunger making fresh lemonade (pretty sure they don’t do that anymore). One girl would work the counter and make the corn dogs. They were cooked to order, so it wasn’t fast. I’d get my super hot still-glistening-from-hot-oil corn dog in it’s little paper chip tray, and go around the corner for ketchup and mustard. I’d put ketchup and mustard next to each other in the tray to be swirled together by the corn dog. I hated waiting for it to cool down because after walking the entire food alley, I was hungry!
The lemonade was perfect on a hot Sacramento afternoon–not to sweet, not too cold—and it paired perfectly with the hot corn dog.
On days where I took my young nephew, we’d sometimes get fresh dipped ice cream bars or cinnamon rolls in the Exhibition hall. I loved watching them take out the vanilla bar and dip it into the chocolate, than roll it in nuts. If I was by myself, I’d get a frozen banana fresh dipped.
Late in the afternoon when we were hot and thirsty, I’d get soft frozen lemonade from one of the many carts scattered throughout the fair–too cold to drink fast without a headache, but oh, so good. Sometimes, we’d get snow cones with a rainbow of flavors. I remember getting Tiger’s Blood because the name was cool (and when Charlie Sheen said he had Tiger’s Blood, I laughed because it made me think of snow cones).
I still haven’t tried alligator-on-a-stick, or fried butter, or fried artichokes or fried twinkies, and if I went to the fair now, I’d probably talk a big game about how I’m going to try everything, and then still end up with my trusty corn dog and lemonade.