By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Aug 01, 2023 at 4:55 PM

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The countdown has begun. There are just over 40 hours before Wisconsin State Fair opens its doors to the public at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 3.  That means you've got less than two days to create your list of the State Fair foods you want to try!

Among this year's 98 new State Fair foods are the 12 delicious finalists who've entered this year's annual Sporkies and Drinkies Competitions. All 12 Sporkies and Drinkies finalists will be available at this year’s Wisconsin State Fair so you can judge their worthiness for yourself.

However, this afternoon a judging panel emceed by WISN Sports Director and 2021 Sporkies Judge, Dario Melendez, met at the Fair to taste all of the entries and declare the winners from a selection of four Drinkies finalists and eight Sporkies contenders.

Here are their picks for this year's winners!  (Note: There is one winner for the Drinkies and First, Second and Third place winners for the Sporkies)

Drinkies Champion

The Ferris MuleX

Champion: The Ferris Mule
This non-alcoholic mule is crafted with fresh blackberries, ginger beer, freshly squeezed lime juice and agave nectar. The drink is hand shaken, poured over ice and garnished with fresh blackberries, a rosemary sprig and a lime wheel.
Find it at: Old Fashioned Sipper Club

Other finalists: Cotton Candy Lemonade (Saz's Miller High Life Pavilion); the Mango Tango Tajin (Caribbean Smoothies); and the Brown Sugar Sweet Potato Iced Latte (Mashed Potatoes On-A-Stick)

Sporkies Champion

Beer Cheese Wisconsin Lava CakeX

Champion: Beer Cheese Wisconsin Lava Cake
This is a savory take on a sweet classic featuring salted Milwaukee Pretzel Company slider buns filled with beer cheese soup, topped with butter, pretzel salt and a drizzle of housemade hot honey and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes.
Find it at: Wurstbar

Second Place: The Porkie Sundae (Camp Bar)

The PorkieX

Vanilla custard layered with cheesecake bites and hot fudge. It’s topped with graham cracker crust, more hot fudge, warm caramel, a graham cracker cookie, and cherry. It's topped with a piece of Rupena’s candied bacon, dipped in chocolate and rolled in sprinkles, to finish things off.

Third Place: The Deep-fried Apple Pie (Saz's BBQ)

Deep fried apple pieX

A take on the classic pudgy pie features housemade apple pie filling is sandwiched between two slices of white bread dipped in sweet French toast batter and deep-fried. The pie is topped with caramel drizzle and cinnamon sugar.
Other finalists: Coastal Corn Nuggets (Tropics); the Dill Pickle Donut (Fluffy's Hand Cut Donuts); The Irish Dipper (Slim McGinn's Irish Pub); Sweet & Savory Funnel Cake Fries (Bud Pavilion); and the Wisconsin Quesadilla (Mexican Grill).

For the full list of finalists who competed for the coveted Sporkies and Drinkies awards, click here.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.