It's almost time to enjoy the sugar-high-inducing, artery-clogging delights of the Wisconsin State Fair, which will take place Aug. 1-11 at State Fair Park, 640 S. 84th St. in West Allis.
Among the tantalizing treats this year are the eight finalists chosen for the fair's seventh annual food competition, The Sporkies, a competition which challenges fair vendors to create the most ingenious concoctions possible.
These eight creative creations bested 38 entries for the 2019 awards, which will be judged by a panel of local celebrity judges (with help from fairgoers) at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 7 at the Associated Bank Amphitheater.
- Brownie Waffle Stick (Waffle Chix): Sweet Belgian waffle baked around double chocolate brownie with white chocolate chips. Served on a stick, dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with chocolate syrup.
- The Buffalo Cheese Curd and Chicken Taco (Poncho Dog): Buffalo flavored cheese curds from Ellsworth, WI paired with slices of grilled chicken in a fried flour tortilla. Topped with bleu cheese slaw.
- Chicago Dog Nachos (Slim’s PBR Park): Housemade potato chips topped with deep-fried hot dog slices, diced tomatoes, onions, dill pickles and jalapenos along with green relish and nacho cheese sauce. Dusted with celery salt and poppy seeds.
- The Deep-Fried Italian Stallion (Water Street Brewery): Slow-roasted Italian beef marinated in Oktoberfest beer, garlic, onions and Italian seasonings, sliced thin and layered with Wisconsin mozzarella and provolone cheeses and spicy house made giardiniera, all wrapped in a wonton and deep-fried to golden perfection. Available "wet" or "dipped" just like the classic sandwich. Served with extra Oktoberfest Au Jus for dipping.
- Deep-Fried Milk with Cookie Dip (Slim's/Lakefront Brewery): A reverse take on milk and cookies where you dip the milk in the cookie! Sweet and creamy cups of milk pudding are breaded and fried to crispy perfection, then sprinkled with powdered sugar. Served with a luscious Oreo cookie dip on the side.
- The Jalapeño Popper Hot Dog (Siggy’s Wild Dog Saloon): An all-beef hot dog wrapped in bacon and deep fried. Topped with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and spicy jalapenos and drizzled with a sweet raspberry glaze.
- Puco Locadilla On-a-Stick (Sprecher Landing): Flour shell tortillas stuffed with habanero jack cheese, poblano peppers, and tomatillos grilled as a quesadilla and served on a stick with grilled chicken breast. Topped with chili lime sauce, cilantro, cotija cheese, corn, kettle chips and snickerdoodle crumbles.
- Tropics Street Corn Nachos (Tropics): All of the flavors of the Mexican-style street corn in nacho form: grilled corn, mayo, cotija cheese, cilantro, cayenne and lime juice along with nacho chips and a creamy melted queso cheese.
During the judging event, The Sporkies judges will taste, deliberate and eventually choose the first, second and third place winners of Golden Spork trophies. This year's judges (so far) include the Journal Sentinel’s entertainment, news and beer culture reporter Kathy Flanigan and Fox6 WakeUp News and Real Milwaukee co-host Angelica Duria. The event will be moderated by Kyle Cherek.
You could be a guest judge
One lucky fairgoer will alsohave the opportunity to join the celebrity panel to taste-test the final creations as a guest judge. Interested foodies will be able to enter the contest starting Tuesday, June 18 via Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #SporkiesJudge2019. Detailed instructions are available at WiStateFair.com.
Meanwhile, all Wisconsin State Fair attendees are encouraged to participate in judging during the fair by sampling all of the Sporkies entries and voting for their favorite. The entry with the most votes will receive the Sporkies trophy for Fairgoers’ Fave.
All food items entered will be available for purchase during the 2019 Wisconsin State Fair. A 13-ft. spork will be displayed at all Sporkies finalists’ locations and all vendors who entered will display a poster at their fair location(s).
Votes can be cast via Facebook voting app, Twitter and Instagram using #FairgoersFave, text message keyword, or paper ballot at the Guest Services Pavilion. Voting for the Fairgoers’ Fave will be open from Thursday, Aug. 1 to Tuesday, Aug. 6.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.