It is that time of year again folks, it’s the 87th annual Ozarks Empire Fair! I remember my parents taking my siblings and I to the fair every year. This tradition followed me into my teen years when my friends and I would go multiple times a summer once it was open. From playing games and trying to win prizes to riding the Ferris wheel and the zipper, it was always a blast. One thing that has not changed after all these years, is the great selection of fair food.
To start this food journey, we must start with the Holy Trinity of fair foods, the corn dog, the funnel cake, and a jug of root beer. While I was at the fairgrounds, zipping around on a golf cart with my pal Larry Krauck, he mentioned this: If you visit the Ozark Empire Fair, the holy trinity of fair food goodness must be eaten. If you do not pick up these tasty items, can you really say you visited the fair?
The Foot-Long Corn Dog
A corn dog at the fair automatically brings back great childhood memories and nostalgia. There are multiple food trailers at the fair that sell the classic corn dog, both normal and foot-long sizes. You can have them covered in mustard or ketchup if you like as well. The corn dogs are sweet, savory, and crunchy. These golden fried snacks are the perfect way to start your food journey at the Ozark Empire Fair.
The Funnel Cakes
When it comes to picking out a funnel cake, I am normally a traditionalist. When visiting the fair, I counted at least five to six different versions of the classic fried treat. You can get anything from candy and cookie covered to the version I settled on, the strawberry cheesecake funnel cake. Take your perfectly swirled and fried dough, give it a good dusting of powdered sugar and then copious amounts of cream cheese and strawberry topping for one of the most satisfying funnel cakes I've had in a long time.
The Jug Of Rootbeer
When you find yourself walking around the carnival, playing all sorts of games, and riding all the rides that you can possibly handle in the July/August heat, you must stay hydrated. Well, the third part of the holy trinity of fair foods is going to fix that problem! The little jugs of root beer have been synonymous with the fair for ages. So, when you're chowing down on a corn dog and funnel cake, remember to wash it down with one of these famous jugs.
The Smoked Turkey Leg
It might not be part of the holy trinity of fair foods but the jumbo smoked turkey leg that you can pick up from the well-known food truck, Missouri Mikes BBQ, is a must-try. This bad boy is super tender, when you bite into it, the meat almost melts in your mouth. The turkey leg has a great smokey flavor that comes along with it being slow smoked for hours.
The Deep Fried Oreos
I have been seeing all these different snack foods being battered and deep fried at the fair for years. But this was my first time getting to try them, and I am here to say that these were awesome! The deep-fried Oreo is one I have seen the most advertised and it didn't disappoint. Once you bit into it, the sweet batter mixes so well with the chocolate cookie on the inside. Who knew that you could take something that was already delicious and make it even greater.
There is always room for pie, right? Well it’s even easier now at the fair to grab a fried hand pie to enjoy while you walk around! For $6 you can choose over 10 different flavors, like cherry, lemon, and even pecan cream!
Authentic Maine-style Whoopie pies have arrived at the Ozark Empire Fair! Smart Whoopsies-Gourmet Whoopie pies have made their debut at the fair this year, selling 10 different flavors of Whoopie pies. We ordered the Birthday Cake, but they also have cookies and cream, chocolate peanut butter, and even orange creamsicle!
Hot Beef Sundae
I have heard stories for a few years about the hot beef sundae that you can order at Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters. I made it my mission to give it a try once I arrived at the fairgrounds. A bowl filled with mashed potatoes, topped with sliced beef, gravy, and topped with a cherry tomato. You will be in need of a nap after enjoying this Ozark Empire Fair delicacy.