Iowa State Fair offers new food to fairgoers

Kalyn Gallup

The Iowa State Fair has been a treasured tradition for many families across Iowa, and for good reason: there’s a plethora of things to do and see. One thing that towers above all else is quite simple, the food is a staple to any Iowa State Fair visitor’s diet.

This year, for the first time ever, concessionaires were given the opportunity to participate in a contest to help choose new foods to offer at the Iowa State Fair this August.

These new foods were judged on taste, creativity, presentation and the value, as well as the relevance of the new menu choice when compared with the rest of the menu.

“For example, we wouldn’t be very interested in fruit that was being offered by a meat concession,” said Lori Chappell, marketing director at Iowa State Fair. 

“The contest was really just for fun, since we hadn’t done anything like it before,” Chappell said. “But the concessionaires didn’t have to enter the contest.”

The top three new foods from this year’s contest are the shrimp corndog, smoothie on-a-stick, and bacon wrapped riblet on-a-stick.

Other new foods are also being offered, such as caramel apple, strawberry and maple bacon funnel cakes, jalapeno corndogs, tenderloin sandwiches, bratwurst on a pretzel bun, cajun flavored cheese curds, deep fried bull fries and fresh wood oven pizza.

However, with new additions, there are also some foods that stop being available. “If the food isn’t profitable, or as popular as we thought it would be, a new food will usually be added to replace the less popular one,” Chappell said. “We aim to have smaller menus so we can support a larger volume.”

However, there are a few foods that will always remain Iowa State Fair classics.

“Corndogs are definitely the most purchased, because there are more vendors selling them,” said Chappell. “But the truly iconic Iowa State Fair food item is definitely the porkchop on a stick. Since Iowa is an agricultural state, any food dealing with our popular produce attracts a lot of attention.”

One thing’s for sure, though: the food at Iowa State will always be readily available, really tasty, and probably on a stick.