Each August the Indiana State Fair brings rides, animals, free concerts (and prime pokemoning), but most importantly – fair food! This year the Indiana State Fair is introducing a new Taste of the Fair contest where participating vendors are celebrating Indiana’s Bicentennial by creating a new, original fair food rich in Indiana history. And the power of who wins is in YOUR hands this year!

Step 1: Download the Indiana State Fair app.
Step 2: Go to the Indiana State Fair Aug. 5 -21 (may we recommend any of these discount days).
Step 3: Eat EVERYTHING.
Step 4: Review your favorites on the app!

Among the competing foods are: birthday cake smoothies, mac n’ cheese nachos, deep fried s’mores, bison cheese steak eggrolls, and 19 others. OK, so maybe that’s a lot to eat in one visit.  No worries – the Downtown Indy, Inc. team got a sneak preview of the fair food and we have the low down on all of it.

THE DRINKS
Birthday Cake Smoothie Don’t let the name fool you – it’s strawberry and banana flavored (but we all agreed it was mostly just strawberry) and oh so cute with the whipped cream and sprinkles topping! This is the picture perfect Indiana birthday drink.

birthday cake smoothie

Strawberry Pineapple Icey This was the first thing we tried. Was it delicious because when it’s 90 degrees anything cold is or was it really as delicious as we remember it being? We think it really is that delicious – one of our team member’s favorite!

strawbweey pineapple icey

Peanut Butter Milkshake This one should probably go under sweets rather than drinks because by milkshake they mean ice cream – definitely need a spoon to eat this one. Also, it’s not that peanut butter-y, so we recommend getting it mixed with chocolate ice cream!

pb shake

Fruit Tea Twister Not being a tea drinker I was hesitant, but it was so good and fresh. The chunks of strawberry and pineapple in the drink were my favorite part.

fruit tea twister

THE SAVORY
Athens Fries Not only do the fluffy and thick fries make this treat delicious, but the feta cheese on top is to die for. The Sparta Fries are basically the same, but with a hotter feta cheese.

athens fries

Bison Cheese Steak Eggrolls A first time vendor at the fair made a lasting impression for all of us. This was one of the all-around fan favorites of the day. Red Frazier Bison comes from Bloomington, Ind. with no growth hormones, no steroids, free-range bison meat.

bison cheese steak eggroll

Mac n Cheese Nachos Yep, as good as it sounds.

mac n cheese nachos

The Smokin’ Hot on Rye Bread  This is not your typical grilled cheese. It features Sriracha Jack cheese, a hot, spicy and sweet sauce blended into a jack cheese, paired wonderfully with a medium-aged smoked cheddar. Spoiler alert: it’s not hot at all, but still has a good kick.

THE SWEETS
Birthday Funnel Cake Not only picture perfect, but taste perfect too. The icing makes it.

birthday funnel cake

Deep Fried Birthday Cake Pops Gooey. Cake. YUM.

deep fried birthday cake pops

Deep Fried S’mores This is possibly the most talked about food item of the year. This was my first-ever deep fried anything and it was amazing. Melty marshmallow, chocolate gooeyness and graham cracker sweetness all cooked together in one warm, delicious mess.

deep fried s'mores

THE ‘?!?!’
Double Barrel Burger As a donut fan, I’ve always been skeptical of the donut burgers because I’d rather just have the donut – hold the burger. But it was so much better than I expected! This was my personal favorite of the day.

double barrel burger

Hot Beef Sundae Sounds very questionable, but it’s just beef, mashed potatoes, gravy and corn. It has the looks of a sundae and taste of comfort food.

hot beef sundae

Funnel Cake Burger No comment.

funnel cake burger

HONORABLE MENTION
New Day Craft While not on the Taste of the Fair list, be sure to check out Fountain Square’s New Day Craft’s South Cider – a hard cider with tastes of apple and honey, and not too sweet. You can find it in the Indiana Beer, Wine and Spirits exhibit. From the many local options, to the cute cups it comes in, you won’t go wrong with any choice of drink in the exhibit!

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While none of us here at Downtown Indy, Inc. claim to be renowned food critics , we chatted with someone who is. Jolene Ketzenberger, editor of EatDrinkIndy.com shared her thoughts on the day’s samples with us. “I would get the deep fried s’mores again. My favorite deep fried food is the brownie. You really just can’t go wrong with deep fried anything.” While she always loves trying something new at the fair, when she comes with the family they stick to the classics, “I always have to get an elephant ear, my husband gets corn on the cob and the kids like the corn dogs.”

So whether you’re up for the funnel cake burger or just going for the Dairy Bar’s chocolate milk, you can’t go wrong at the Indiana State Fair.