The Do's and Don'ts of Fair Food

If you're going to do it, you may as well commit.

August 10, 2017 ● 2 min read

By Richie Nakano | Image iStock and Derek Salvatore

I love eating at the fair.

It’s the most wholesome of risky behaviors, it's kid friendly, and your sullen teen cousin can always Instagram it. It's like prom for culinary sins. If ever there was an embodiment of the genius and influence of Guy Fieri, the rows of funnel cake stands butting up against corn dog booths are it.  

The only real rules of eating at the fair: there are no rules. Want a donut hamburger for breakfast? Do that. Wanna dip your curly fries in nacho cheese? Be my guest. Double fisting ice cream and pizza? Just be sure to share.  

We do have some guidelines to help you make the most of what can be a fun filled, artery clogging, take-years-off-of-your-life day. (As a person who has witnessed vomiting in the bake sale immediately following a ride on the Looping Starship, I speak from experience.)  

DO eat early.

As soon as you arrive childlike excitement can overtake you—but this is a marathon….er, a 10k, not a sprint. Get a hot dog or a hamburger or a piece of pizza—something standard and bread-y to lay a base in your stomach.

DON'T overeat early.

Your day is going to be all walking and bodily abuse at the hands of shoddily constructed roller coasters. It’s going to be hot and sweaty, and you don't want to be dragging your heels through the livestock exhibit with onion ring burps.

DO share everything.

Think of the fair as the worlds weirdest and most fun tapas bar. You can eat all the things, in small bites and stay fueled up for the entire day without feeling lethargic. No one wants to eat an entire fried Snickers bar. Use teamwork to your advantage.

DON'T eat the oysters.

Seriously, there's always some fucking oyster stand and all these idiots are going hard on them and then everyone is confused why Darryl is puking during the motocross exhibition.

DO divide and conquer.

Split the group up to get all fried things, rather than pecking along like a flock of malnourished pigeons. Stay focused, bring lots of cash, and don't let anyone try to tell you that the chipotle lime chicken sandwich sounds like a good idea.

DON'T drink too much.

Seriously, the Sheriff's department always has a table where they hand out stickers and try to recruit dudes in Make America Great again hats to join up, and you don't want to be pounding your 8th Coors Light when you walk past them.

DO eat all the fried doughs.

Funnel cakes, donuts, even the lightly battered Chili Cheese Belly Buster are your right—nay, your DUTY—as an American. These are the tales you will tell, and they're a hundred times more interesting than talking about that one time that you ate at Alinea.

DON'T get the Blue Cheese Popcorn Shrimp Fries.


DO finish your day with all the grilled things.

The fair is stupid with huge grills billowing smoke, piled high with tri-tip, jerk chicken, smoked turkey legs, and a vast array of sausages that would make a German blush.

*This guide can be applied to music festivals as well: just sub out any mention of rides for a mosh pit, or two hours of embarrassing EDM freestyle “dancing.”