Kentucky State Fair Wrap-Up

Well it’s been one heck of a full week of work. But I’m never too busy to take at least one trip to the State Fair which happens every year here in Louisville at this time. I feel very lucky that the fair is so accessible. With the exception of Minneapolis I’ve never lived in such close proximity to a state fair, and wow are they ever worth the trip. The corn dogs alone justify the price of admission (future project, anyone?) to say nothing of all the entertainments, rides, exhibitions and of course livestock. I try to go early in the week so as not to miss the cock crowing contests which only happen when the poultry is on display.

I can’t describe why it’s as much fun as it is. I think it’s the absurdity of it. Basically you site there for 15 minutes staring at cages of roosters, waiting for them to do their thing. Meantime everyone in the audience is looking around at each other with an I-can’t-believe-I’m-doing-this grin. I have to say it wasn’t a banner year. The top cock only crowed 29 times in this heat. Last year one of them sounded off 249 times. Now THAT was exciting. This photo is deceptive. Actually there were over 100 people here for this.

Speaking of poultry, can you believe this is a chicken?

And this pigeon, well, it looks like it’s wearing a wedding dress.

And what do you call this?

A cowch.

Eh? Eh? Ah, I got a million of ’em! Please tip your waiters and waitresses, ladies and germs. As for agricultural products, the pumpkins— normal the bruisers of the fair — were a disappointment. The watermelons were rather impressive however. This one weighed in at 217 pounds.

The girls are always anxious to see what the balloon benders are doing. Each year they build a scene progressively over a period of ten days with everything — everything — made from balloons. Normally they don’t make this much progress in the first weekend. This year was sort of a Candy Land type of affair. The ice cream cones were the really impressive things, or at least I thought.

The ice cream soda and gum ball machine all made from balloons of different kinds, they were very cool too.

Of course the baking exhibition always holds special interest for yours truly. All sorts of cookies, cakes, breads and biscuits. I’m not much of a novelty cake baker, but I confess the creativity on display in that section is always inspiring. Being a back yard cook I loved this take on a Big Green Egg:

The octopus was cute.

Santa stuck in the chimney was cuter.

The stack of pancakes really blew my mind. That’s caramel — I guess — running down the sides. Wow.

The licking flames of the Phoenix were also extremely impressive to me. Such fabulous color variation.

Wish I had a deep fried Oreo to pass on to you, but we ate them all. Another successful fair! Next year you really ought to come.

23 thoughts on “Kentucky State Fair Wrap-Up”

  1. One of my brothers had a pet rooster who would crow on command. It was the oddest thing, the rooster would follow my brother around like a pet dog. If only the State fair would have allowed cues, my brother and his pet rooster would have won every year.

  2. Okay, so I have an issue with fairs and awards for wonderful baked goods….and this also may be a business idea so feel free to steal it if you want. Why can’t we (all, not just judges like you) TASTE these winning pies, cookies, cakes, etc….I would much rather have one fantastic slice of pie than a deep fried oreo. I think that we should create a stand that just reproduces and sells these winning items (with permission, of course) and gives some profit to the fair and to the originator of the recipe. Wouldn’t that be awesome!?! Then it would feel like you are experiencing the fair.

    1. Yeah I feel the same. I want to taste the State’s best biscuits, if only to know how close I am! 😉

      Nice idea!

      – Joe

      1. A few years back we were @ the Turner County Fair in SD, & after the pie judging they raffled off the winning pies & then sold the other pies by the slice. The proceeds went to the Food Pantry.

        1. Hey Cath!

          They do something similar here with the country hams. They auction them off for charity, and the prices are outrageous. The grand champion ham went for two million this year!

          That’s a pricey sandwich!

          – Joe

          1. Speechless, but in a good way about how generous people can be.

          2. Yeah it is incredible. The hams themselves are usually given to some of the homes for nuns around town here (nuns still exist but most of them are getting up there). It’s generosity all the way around!


            – Joe

  3. You’ve got to try the deep fried buckeyes, or maybe that was an Ohio State Fair thing! We always have to check out the chickens at the county and state fairs!

    1. I LOVE buckeyes. That sounds fantastic. I may have to make those at home! 😉

      – Joe

        1. Those little round caramels with a white spot of powdered sugar in the middle. Mrs. Pastry is a true candy fanatic and finds them too sweet. A narrow viewpoint in my opinion.

          – Joe

          1. Being a born and bred Buckeye, the buckeye candies I’m familiar with are made of butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar. Mix together, roll into little balls and dip in melted chocolate. Some recipes call for a bit of paraffin mixed in with the chocolate coating.

          2. Those are the homemade versions and they are FANTASTIC. Thanks, Linda!

            – Joe

          3. . . . forgot to mention – when you dip them, a little bit of the peanut butter’y inside is left at the top and that is what makes them look like buckeyes.

          4. Check! I’ll have to make those sometime.


            – Joe

          5. Interesting – when I visited Ohio I was told (and given samples) of a treat that was balls of sweetened peanut butter (mostly) dipped in chocolate (so a circle of peanut butter was not covered).

          6. Yep, those are great homemade ones. The packaged candy ones are just caramel and sugar. Both have their appeal. I remember the packaged caramel ones fondly from grade school.


            – Joe

          7. Well, Joe, I’m an embarrassed Buckeye for not knowing there were 2 versions! If you want to enjoy the homemade one without making them – since the recipe makes about a million and that would be delicious and dangerous – Cracker Barrel carries them during the cooler months since they don’t ship well in the heat. They should be available very soon.


  4. I love, love, love the New Mexico State Fair! Those pictures from Kentucky look like what we have here, too. Now that my son is grown, I never go to the midway. For my husband and me, the Fair is all about the animals, the exhibits, & the once-a-year junky deliciousness; green chile corn dogs for sure! I am getting my cookie entry ready for this year’s contest, Sept. 10. I’ve baked them 3 times and have another 4 times scheduled. Tweaking, tweaking, perfecting …

    1. Let me know, Melinda! I always want to enter but I’m forever missing the deadlines…which are surprisingly early around here. Good luck!

      – Joe

      1. OK Joe, what you have to do is go to the Fair’s website in early JUNE (or in your case, maybe late MAY) and download the rules for the category in which you are interested. The rules will have the entry dates. You put the date on your calendar RIGHT AWAY! And then you start to work backwards to plan dates that you are going to try to make 6 perfect specimens of your entry (if they are cookies or biscuits). And you line up your tasters because you will be baking more often than you can possibly eat everything. If you follow my directions, the deadline will not sneak up on you. But you still might have drama if the carpenter, house painter and gas man all show up during high recipe testing days.

        1. Melinda, I thank you. Great advice. I love going to the fair but always kick myself over my poor organizational skills!


          – Joe

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