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The Dixie Classic Deep Fried Orgy

My oldest memory of any state fair rests in a small town in New Hampshire, Stratham, I believe, and it has always been fondly recalled. I was like any eight-year-old in that shiny objects and flashing lights drew me in like the Death Star’s tractor beam, and I willingly, no, eagerly allowed it.

My first real fair memory is linked to my sense of smell, of course. It was my first exposure to edible things that were not casseroled (my mother’s preferred style of cooking) and, of course, edible things that glistened with heart-stopping amounts of oil. After successfully talking my parents into spending a couple dollars out of my college saving account on two games I was sure I would win (I didn’t) we dined on what still to this day is the most scrumptulescent bowl of French fries. Up until that point my taste buds had only been tortured with the flaccid, soggy fries you’d get at places like Wendy’s, but this was something else entirely.

First, the French fries’ girth was that of my adolescent wrist, and the smell was unlike anything I’d ever tasted. What was it? After all, a fair’s condiments can vary wildly depending on what part of the country you’re in (which we’ll touch on in a few paragraphs), but being so close to Canada I can now safely say that it was just vinegar. Lots and lots of vinegar. And there was salt and maybe even some balsamic on the side, but I can’t remember. All I can remember is those vinegar fries and how no other fry has ever compared to it.

And it would be roughly 20 years until I would return to a state fair.

Early on in dating, the Dixie Classic Fair seems like the ideal place. It’s great for a date because there is so much distraction, but there’s also food and rides so if the conversation gets a little stale you can just buy your way out of it. Do I care that your friend once entered the “Decorate the Apple” contest and got second place? No, but I do care wholeheartedly about shooting every iota of this red star out of the paper with this BB gun so that I can win you this cuddly, unauthorized, grotesque, stuffed SpongeBob Squarepants. (Full disclosure: I am still dating the girl I attended the fair with three years ago, and she doesn’t have a friend who entered the “Decorate the Apple” contest, to my knowledge.)

We’ve made the Dixie Classic Fair somewhat of a tradition now, and if we were to have what dieticians call a “cheat day,” it’s the day we go to the fair. (More full disclosure: I have never referred to any day of my life as a “cheat day” in reference to what I am eating.)

This year, we decided to act like real adults and choose to eat dessert first. That decision meant we were to lay a foundation of dough and powdered sugar – the preferred confection of any funnel cake aficionado – upon our stomachs. We followed that brilliant decision with an even better one, which was a deep fried onion served with a side ranch dressing and Pepto Bismollooking horseradish.

And that takes care of the vegetable portion of the meal.

I moved onto the Chicken-On- A-Stick from a food wagon that looked like a small cabin. It was equal parts delicious and heart stopping. The chicken marinates in water and brown sugar before the teriyaki dressing is applied following the grill. This really seals in the flavor, apparently.

You’d think we’d be full by now, but you also must take into consideration the abundance of roasted corn on the cob dealers at the Dixie Classic Fair. I ordered mine, but with a stomachache looming I halted at the addition of mayonnaise, lime, seasoning salt and extra butter. Scratch that. I asked him to the double dip the cob just in case some kernels weren’t soaking in butter. Then I added some salt and pepper and parmesan (for all the healthy benefits parmesan cheese has, duh), and proceeded to devour it. Given that my girlfriend is a vegetarian, she didn’t partake in the Chicken- On-A-Stick, and I only left a two-bite window of opportunity in my gorging of the cob.

Somewhere in the mix my girlfriend ordered some fries, but she isn’t of the breed that takes vinegar the same way I do, which is by the gallon, so it was just more ranch. I had already had my fill of ranch from the onion, and with all the greased up goodness sliding through my intestine like an oiled up submarine through the Pacific, I was on my way to find something that might slow it down.

That mission failed miserably in my purchase of meter-long bag of kettle corn and two candy apples. I mean, you can judge all you want, but candy apples are half apple, and an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

That ended our night at the fair. We didn’t ride any rides because it was wet, and there’s just something sketchy about getting on a ride that has visible rust even in low light. I opted not to partake in any games because I know my talents, and my talents do not reach the levels of “Climb this tilting ladder to the bell” and “toss this ping pong ball in a glass cup that is four feet away” in order to obtain the blissful, material nirvana known as the “Rasta Banana that looks stoned and is probably filled with asbestos” prize bundle.

The fair is the greatest show on earth (when Ringling Brothers aren’t in town) and the Dixie Classic Fair is the best week of the year (for people who don’t mind consuming 4,000+ calories in a three-hour window). I’ve already been back since Saturday and I plan on going again. I heard the Alligator Mac-n-Cheese is one of the best bites of the whole event, and it will definitely sit well in my stomach when I get on that ride that spins you around, flips you, and jerks suddenly. What could go wrong? !

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