The Wisconsin State Fair fires up on Thursday, and that means a full state's worth of entertainment is headed to West Allis – as well as a full stomach's worth of crazed delicacies. Admittedly, all those outrageous options can be overwhelming – and not only for your waistline.
And so, to help, Steve Palec has cooked up his signature official State Fair food checklist, filled with this year's special highlights, the regular must-haves and some bonus bites – no salads invited.
So get your guts ready; here's everything Palec-approved you'll want to eat at the 2017 Wisconsin State Fair.
But first, some important notes from Palec himself:
"OAS" is an abbreviation for a term you will hear often: On A Stick.
Locations or vendors are not provided. I don't even bother to look it up. Part of the fun is finding them.
An asterisk indicates a Sporkies finalist.
Disclaimer: This is not a comprehensive list. It is totally subjective. It simply indicates what I want to try. It also does not obligate the user of the list to complete the list under any type of penalty (myself included).
And now the checklist:
Highlights this year
- Buffalo Mac & Cheese Quesadilla *
- Deep Fried Bacon-Wrapped Olives OAS
- Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders (you had me at bourbon)
- BBQ Pork Chop OAS
- Spaghetti & Meatballs Mozzarella Sticks *
- Cajun Battered Shark OAS
- Pastrami Beer-Brined Ribs (PBRs)
- Deep Fried Pepper Jack & Bacon Mac & Cheese OAS
- Wild Boar BLT Sandwich OAS
- Great Balls of Fire Sandwich *
- SPAM Fries
- Three Little Pigs Bacon Ravioli *
- Spicy Cheese Curds & Chorizo Taco
- Deep Fried Fat Elvis OAS (there is also a Deep Fried Elvis OAS, but come on)
- Fire Tots
- Russian Imperial Stout Maple Bacon Cupcakes
- Steak & Eggs OAS
Must-haves every year
- Deep Fried PB&J Sandwich
- Original Cream Puff
- Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger
- Cattleman’s Association Ribeye Steak Sandwich
- Chocolate Cruller OAS
- Deep Fried Grilled Cheese Bites *
- Cricket Nachos
- Chocolate Covered Cranberries OAS
- Crab Rangoon
- Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp Tempura OAS
- Unicorn Twinkie
- Falafel OAS
- Corn on the cob
- Salad on a Stick hahahahahaha
The fifth annual Sporkies at 11 a.m. on Aug. 9 will award the best new foods based on a panel of judges including my close leaping friend LeRoy Butler, OnMilwaukee’s Lori Fredrich, my good buddy FOX 6’s Nicole Koglin, one lucky fair winner and one very lucky Steve Palec.
Two responses came back, including one janitor position. Steve took the other: the opportunity to hang out at WUWM.
After that, he worked at WAUK, then WQFM, then WZUU, then back to WQFM ... and finally worked afternoons at WKLH for a little while.
"I gave up Eddie Money to earn money in 1986," says Steve, who eventually entered the world of commercial real estate.
"But 23 years ago WKLH offered me the chance to wake up early every Sunday morning," he says. "I mean every Sunday morning. I mean like 5:30 am. I mean no matter what I did on Saturday night. Live every Sunday morning. I love it."