An inside look at the Florida State Fair’s most outrageous foods


The Florida State Fair is back and will run through May 2. These are the most outrageous foods you can eat right now at Florida State Fair.

Ahh, the state fair—the crowning gem of the American south!

From the plains of Oklahoma to the lone star coasts of Texas, millions of people each year flock to these dirt road, amusement wonderlands. Drawn by flashing lights, cotton candy, and the prospect of winning a 6-foot stuffed banana with dreadlocks, the young and old alike visit the fair for a fun-filled weekend of nostalgia and nostalgia-in-the-making. In short, these events are a sheer blast.

Now, since Florida is essentially the southernmost tip of the home of the brave, it’s no surprise that our fair is one of the best. We’ve got all your classic carnival events (like pie competitions, crafters, and livestock), but we’ve also got fire throwers, stunt bikes, and a Hollywood circus. Heck—even our pigs are better. They don’t just sit; they literally race.

Thrills, livestock, and entertainment

As great as thrills and entertainment are, however, there is one thing that fairs are truly known for: the food. I mean, let’s be real—we live in a culture infatuated by batter-dipped decadence. There are multiple television shows  about carnival eats. Whether consuming them, photographing them, or questioning their existence, deep-fried indulgences are ever present in the lives of many, thus the 2021 Florida State Fair team has spared no expense in providing an outrageous lineup of next-level foods for its visitors.

Curious what type of outrageous fair foods have made it on to this years’ menu? Luckily for you, I’ve already stopped in for a visit.

Here are some of the wildest things I saw:

Flaming Hot Cheetos Funnel Cake

Adding cornmeal, spices, fresh jalapeños, and crushed flaming hot Cheetos to cake mix, this savory funnel cake is far from traditional. Emphasizing the global Flamin’ Hot Cheeto craze, this tasty treat is fried up crunchy, topped with nacho cheese, and more Cheetos.

Peanut Butter and Spicy Jelly Tater Tots

I’ve always been a sucker for PB&J, so this one had my name all over it. If you’re anxious about the idea of peanut butter on tater tots—don’t be. The crunchy texture and spicy jelly totally make it work.

Gelato Nachos

 Looking for a giant treat to share? You’ve come to the right place. Featuring homemade Dutch stroopwafel “chips” with gelato, chocolate, and candy toppings, these super fun dessert “nachos” are the perfect sundae for a hungry group.

Pickle Pizza

When my friend, Nikki, and I got an early glimpse at the 2021 fair menu, this became the first “outrageous” food on our bucket list. There was just something about the idea of a white garlic sauce base topped with mozzarella cheese, dill pickles, and ranch seasoning that sounded so delicious… Not gonna completely spoil the surprise, but I’d say our instincts were right.

The Cookie Pail

Because sometimes one cookie just isn’t enough.

Deep Fried Molten Lava Cake

Just when I thought there was no way to improve a lava cake, someone dropped one in a fryer, which simultaneously improved the world. Seriously, this is definitely one of humanity’s best achievements.

The Pig Rig

Honestly, by fair food standards, this super stuffed grilled cheese isn’t really that crazy. But, with slow pulled BBQ pork, mac and cheese, and even more cheese, it’s a crowd favorite—and you know you want to try it.

Florida’s Fried Food Capital

Hungry for more outrageous eats? Then hop on over to the Florida State Fair between today and May 2nd. No matter what you’re craving, Florida’s “Fried Food Capital” probably has it.

Oh, but make sure to chow down after you ride the Wipeout.

Pickle pizza definitely tastes better on the way down.

The 2021 Florida State Fair will run from April 22nd-May 2nd in Tampa. To purchase tickets, ride wristbands, and more, guests can visit the fair’s official website: https://floridastatefair.com/.

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Kara VanDooijeweert is a current journalism student at Rutgers University. If you can't find her in the Bay's best restaurants, she's probably off exploring the wilderness. Catch her on instagram, @karanicolev.