The only place those three things could exist in complete harmony is the Arizona State Fair. Now, I’ve already raved about the fair in the past (read Quite the Affair), but I feel like the experience is different every year, because the offerings change.
For example, as part of my annual tour de food, I put on my big girl panties and tried chocolate-covered crickets. Yep, you read that right. I ate bugs—the kind that chirp and hop all over the place at night—and I have no regrets.
Maybe I did it because Bryan and I have been watching too many episodes of Bizarre Foods (I mean, crickets are a far cry from cow testicles).
Maybe it’s because chocolate covered crickets were way less expensive than the high-flying swings—and would deliver the same adrenaline rush.
Whatever the reason, I ordered the crickets…and they were pretty good! Generally, texture is what makes me shy away from certain foods; if it’s slimy, I’m not a fan. The crickets were crunchy, a little earthy, and come on, there was chocolate, so I was in!
Of course, the tour de food also included lots of fried foods, a state fair specialty, the stamp of ‘Merica. If you can dream it up, they can batter it and fry it up for ya. One of the most decadent fried foods I spied was a fried bacon-wrapped Reese’s peanut butter cup. Yeah, that sounded like a bit too much for me, but we did indulge in fried pumpkin pie with cinnamon ice cream and a fried lemon bar.
The fried pumpkin pie was akin to a turnover or an empanada—beautiful and super delicious! My boyfriend described it perfectly; if pumpkin pie made sweet, sweet love (get it!?) to a churro, this would be the lovechild (okay, he didn’t use that euphemism…)—and then add ice cream.
The lemon bar wasn’t exactly what we expected; it was more like lemon cake with lemon frosting as opposed to a traditional lemon bar dipped in batter and fried, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a flavor bomb of awesome. Because it was. The lemon was nice and bright in contrast to the heaviness of the fried dough—a pretty solid combination.
Apart from the food, I did some shopping at the fair, and that was something I didn’t expect. Sure, we walk through the hall of wares every year and take a look around, but the vendors are usually selling gimmicky items that I don’t really care about—spas and sand art and Korean boy band posters and helium-powered toys.
Well, that changed this year, because I found myself a pair of hand-carved wooden slides. They are so unique and comfortable, and I happen to be wearing them right now, which makes me feel rather posh. The vendor, Kingdome Clothing, doesn’t just make rad shoes; they make wooden sunglasses, watches, and phone cases, to name a few things. There were some cool clothing pieces, too, but the shoes simply spoke to me. Seriously. I heard them whisper, “We want to come home with you.” At first, it was creepy, but in a really endearing, fashionable way.
I found another booth that inspired me to start my Christmas shopping, because the item I found is perfect for my mom. Of course, I can’t go into detail about what that item is, because she just might read this blog post.
We didn’t get to experience a lot of entertainment this year. My boyfriend and I weren’t interested in the Fifth Harmony concert happening Sunday afternoon—although the place was packed with teeny boppers. And the community stages didn’t have the same variety as last year. I was left jonesing for a little more cultural art like Folklorico dancing and bellydancing.
However, instead of the Flying Pig Races, the fair had lemur racing this year! The racing itself was not that exciting, but the animal handlers brought out a lemur named DJ before the heats. And I kind of wanted to take him home. A member of the marsupial family, the lemur is like an exotic, beautiful monkey and I could imagine DJ traipsing about our counters and staircase—and then I remembered our dogs. Yeah, not a good idea. But a girl can dream.
In any case, we had a brilliant time at the Arizona State Fair, which is no surprise because it’s a blast every year. The fair is running until November 2. If you have the chance, GO!
I mean, where else can you eat crickets, buy wooden shoes, and watch live lemurs?