Cravin’ craze: Indiana State Fair unveils new food concoctions

When the Indiana State Fair comes around each summer, thousands of people flock to the fairgrounds for a variety of different reasons.

Some people love the swirling, twirling midway rides. Others come for the livestock shows and 4-H projects from around the state. Free concerts and special exhibitions are popular draws as well.

But there’s one thing that nearly everyone can agree makes the fair special — the food.

Indiana State Fair officials unveiled the special offerings of the Taste of the Fair competition on Tuesday, with a wealth of creative dishes sure to spark curiosity, conversation and craving. The annual competition among vendors allows them to show off their creativity, and people can follow the food trail maps, trying the different offerings, then vote online for their favorites.

Like some kind of food-based Frankenstein’s monsters, the creations bring together disparate parts into delicious, if slightly disturbing, dishes. Here is some of the best of what’s on the menu for Taste of the Fair this year:

All-American Mary: The All-American Mary is a classic bloody Mary brimming with all your favorite backyard cookout essentials. It’s loaded with a mini corn on the cob, cheeseburger slider, fried mac and cheese, fried pickles, waffle fries, a hot dog slider and a mini apple pie.

Aloha Hot Honey Chicken Nachos: This tropical twist on loaded nachos features crispy tortilla chips, taco seasoned chicken, creamy queso, sweet pineapple chunks, a drizzle of Mike’s Hot Honey and zesty mango salsa.

Bison Smashburger Taco: The classic Bison burger smashed and pressed into a flour tortilla served with all the classic fixings, drizzled with signature smash burger sauce.

Blueberry Cheesecake Stuffed Elephant Ear: For 10 years the Bakerman has offered fairgoers the original stuffed elephant ear available with apple, cherry or peach filling. This year the company is taking it to the next level with a blueberry cheesecake stuffed elephant ear.

Bratzilla: This monstrous sandwich features a locally sourced 1/3 pound bratwurst from Dewig Meats on a pretzel bun, smothered in creamy hatch queso, topped with BBQ pulled pork, crispy onions and jalapeños.

Chili Cheese Empanada: Indulge in the fiery flavors of Newfields’ signature chili cheese empanada at the state fair. Bursting with a tantalizing blend of house-made three-alarm chili and rich Wisconsin cheddar cheese, each empanada is expertly deep-fried to golden perfection. Topped with a colorful medley of pickled red onions, fresh scallions, and crunchy corn chips, every bite is a symphony of textures and tastes. Accompanied by a luscious creamy cheddar cheese sauce for dipping and a dollop of cooling sour cream, this savory sensation is a must-try for all food enthusiasts seeking a delicious and unforgettable fair experience.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Funnel Cake: R & W Concessions’ famous funnel cake topped with cinnamon and sugar followed by Cinnamon Toast Crunch then drizzled with vanilla icing.

Dill Pickle Dr. Pepper, Dill Pickle Lemon Shake-Up: These two concoctions by R&W Concessions take full advantage of the dill pickle craze, bringing the flavor to some unexpected places. Choose between Dr. Pepper with dill pickles spears followed by a splash of juice, or go with a lemon shake-up with all fresh ingredients and a splash of pickle juice and pickle spear

Fried Ice Cream Cone: Vanilla ice cream rolled in corn flakes and flash fried. Topped with honey, chocolate, whipped cream, all served in a homemade waffle cone.

Fried Sugar Biscuit n’ BBQ with Apple Butter Sauce: A deep-fried biscuit rolled in sugar, stuffed with pulled pork topped with an apple butter BBQ sauce.

Grilled Cheese Slammer: A grilled cheese sandwich filled with BBQ pork, mac ‘n cheese, and fried pickles, served on Texas toast with a side order a tater tots.

Happy Jack Sandwich: Loaded with shredded jackfruit blended with bourbon maple sauce and southern black leaf spices piled on pretzel bun with coleslaw.

Spicy Pickle Pizza: Start off with homemade pizza dough with a jalapeño ranch sauce, then topped with mozzarella and pickle chips then we sprinkle a Cajun dust over top and bake. When it comes out they butter the crust and add more Cajun dust and drizzle spicy ranch on top.

Jerk Chicken Nachos: Crispy chips topped with Jamaican jerk chicken, flavorful jerk sauce, sweet peppers and melted cheese.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Chicken Wings: Crispy chicken wings tossed in a creamy peanut butter sauce and topped with a sweet jelly drizzle. Perfect for adventurous eaters and wing enthusiasts alike.

Sun King’s State Fair Pickle Beer: More pickle madness. Sun King Brewing takes its golden ale and balances the pickled punch of cucumber and dill to the base beer’s crisp character.

Sweet Chili Suga Daddy Sub: Gobble Gobble Food Truck combines sweet chili turkey meatballs and nestles them in a donut.

The Godfather Egg Roll: A 6-inch specialty egg roll stuffed with homemade spaghetti with ground beef meat sauce and mozzarella cheese, brushed with a parmesan garlic butter.

A map highlighting the locations of all the fair’s food booths, including the featured food items will be available at information booths located throughout the fairgrounds and at as you plan your trip to this year’s fair.