Fair Food & Local Dishes at the Colorado State Fair

Fair food at the Colorado State Fair

One of the best things about going to the fair is the wide variety of delicious fair food you can indulge in! From giant smoked turkey legs to sugar-coated funnel cakes to bacon-wrapped jalapeno peppers, fair food is unlike food you’ll find anywhere else. Whether you’re craving a salty and savory meal, a sugary treat to satisfy your sweet tooth, or even an afternoon snack, you’re guaranteed to find a favorite fair food at the Colorado State Fair.

This article will go over some of the most popular fair foods served at the Colorado State Fair.

Turkey legs on barbecue for sale at the Colorado State Fair

Giant Turkey Leg

One of the fun things about going to the fair is that you can abandon “proper table manners” and let your inner caveman or cavewoman go wild! There’s something primally rewarding about grabbing a giant hunk of meat and taking a massive bite out of it — shamelessly devouring the smoked meaty goodness without fear of judgment. That’s why our giant turkey legs are among our most popular fair foods at the Colorado State Fair. 

Slopper 2020 content at the Colorado State FairSloppers

The famous slopper is an open-faced cheeseburger smothered in green chile, and it’s local to the region of Pueblo. A must-try if you’re from out of town and haven’t tried this savory local delicacy before! Additionally, every year, the Colorado State Fair hosts the World Slopper Eating Championship, a professional eating competition to see who can eat the most sloppers in the shortest time. A fun event to watch! That is why we have included it as authentic fair food and a favorite local dish in Colorado.

Fried Pickles

If you like pickles, then you’re in for a delightful treat! It might sound like an odd combination, but fried pickles are a classic fair food and a favorite among pickle lovers. Fried pickles combine the tangy, crunchy goodness of a standard dill pickle with a crispy golden-brown breaded coating. It’s typically served with ranch dressing, which you can dip the pickles in to add a whole new layer of taste. This combination creates a savory explosion of flavor in your mouth and is highly recommended for those who like pickles.

Soft Pretzels

Unlike pretzels that are hard and crunchy, the soft pretzels at the Colorado State Fair resemble fresh bread. They are lightly salted and come with a cheesy dipping sauce. A fast and delicious snack!

Boudin Balls

Originally popularized in Lousiana by 17th-century French settlers, Boudin Balls are now a universal fair food staple around the country. They are made of a mixture of ground pork sausage, rice, and various seasonings, all rolled up into a ball before being covered in batter and deep-fried. If you haven’t had it before, it’s a European delicacy that’s definitely worth trying!

Nachos

This classic Mexican dish is another popular choice at Colorado State Fair. Expect a big pile of deep-fried tortilla chips smothered in delicious gooey queso and covered in the toppings of your choosing — jalapeños, pulled pork, ground beef, sour cream, chives, etc.

A little boy and girl share a bag of brightly colored popcorn at a carnival.  Both children are hispanic.  The little boy is putting food in his mouth and smiling, the little girl is behind him and reaching over him to put her hands in the bag.  Both wear orange.  You can see rides and snack stands in the background.

Corn Dogs

It doesn’t get much simpler than a breaded hotdog on a stick. Corn dogs are a classic favorite fair food, for a good reason: they’re convenient to hold as you walk around the fair, and they aren’t messy.

Carnival Popcorn

A classic fair food, carnival popcorn comes in a variety of flavors — from standard buttery popcorn to sweet kettle corn to delicious caramel corn. It’s a great treat to snack on as you walk around the fair and watch the various attractions.

Deep-Fried Sweets

It might be the ultimate sin, but there are a wide variety of classic deep-fried sweets you can get if you want to indulge in the highest form of guilty pleasure. Examples include deep-fried Twinkies, Snickers, Oreos, and more.

A hand holding a plate of funnel cake with powdered sugar on topFunnel Cake

Funnel Cakes are one of the most popular fair foods at the Colorado State Fair and a universal favorite. Their name comes from the way they’re prepared — pouring batter through a funnel into hot oil, distributing it in a circular pattern, and deep-frying it until it’s golden brown. Afterward, the crispy fried dough is sprinkled with powdered sugar and other sweet toppings. Its ingredients are similar to that of a donut, but funnel cakes have a different shape and texture and are freshly made on the spot.

Cotton Candy

There’s no other fair food that brings back as much childhood nostalgia as cotton candy. A favorite of children around the world, cotton candy is known for its “fantasy-like” qualities. It’s almost as light as air. Eating it feels like you’re taking a bite out of a delicious cloud, and it magically melts in your mouth. Truly a remarkable candy and an excellent treat.

Woman and man biting red candy apples wearing Bavarian traditional clothes in front of carousel

Candied and Caramel Apples

While some parents might have difficulty getting their kids to eat more fruit, no parent has ever struggled to get their kid to eat a delicious candied or caramel apple! Children and adults both love them and they are a classic, sweet fair food treat.

Candied apples are covered in a hard red candy shell, and it’s usually best to lick them like a lollipop until the coating is thin enough to bite into the apple. Caramel apples, on the other hand, can be bitten directly into. They can also be topped with crushed peanuts, which give them another dimension of flavor.

For most people, the fair is the place you go to have fun and try wacky, mind-blowing food, and it’s only around 11 days a year! Add a delicious side to your meal to compliment the savory meat or contrast the sweets. Here are a few fair favorites.

grilled, fresh corn on the cob cooking on outdoor fire.

Baked Potato

Try a delicious baked potato and include all the toppings and customized it to your liking by having it smothered in butter, sour cream, sharp cheddar shredded cheese, and bacon bits.

Grilled Corn On The Cob

Nothing beats grilled corn on the cob smothered in butter. To make things even better, you’ll find that this favorite local dish has far fewer calories than most other fair foods.

Salad

It might sound strange to go to the carnival just to get a salad, but if you’re on a diet and prefer to stick to your leafy greens, you’ll find delicious salads here too!

Tasty Meat-On-A-Stick

Fair food is synonymous with food on a stick, and if you’re trying to cut back on carbs, you can get a wide variety of carb-free skewered meats. Some examples include chicken-on-a-stick, pork-on-a-stick, and even ribeye-on-a-stick, among others.

Fruit-On-A-Stick

Another healthy option is the variety of skewered fruit you’ll find, including a combination of watermelon, apple, orange, grapes, cantaloupe, strawberries, etc.

Women holding summer lemonade mimosa cocktail at the Colorado State Fair.Beverages at the Colorado State Fair

Cocktails

For a more grown-up version of lemonade with a bit of alcohol, consider getting a margarita, or maybe you prefer a piña colada or any other classic cocktail drink. Whatever your taste, you’ll find a variety of cocktails at the different vendors. (Just make sure you don’t go on a ride after drinking an alcoholic beverage, or your stomach may not like it!)

Beer

A cold beer is basically the most refreshing alcoholic drink you can get on a hot summer day. Get a pint or two at a variety of vendors around the fair. Also, check out the craft beer and homebrew competitions to see what some of the finest brewers in Colorado have created!

Wine

If you’re more of a wine fan instead, you’ll be able to find a variety of delicious wines at local vendors as well — including chilled and sparkling wines for summer, as well as more traditional ones. Also, consider checking out the commercial and hobby wine competitions to discover the best wines from professional winemakers and home vintners alike.

Slushies

A favorite of every child, a slushy is basically a popsicle in the form of a shake. They come in a variety of flavors, with some of the most common being cherry, strawberry, blue raspberry, bubblegum, and grape.

Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade

There’s arguably no other beverage that’s more refreshing on a hot summer day than a cold cup of fresh-squeezed lemonade, which you’ll find everywhere you go at the Colorado State Fair.

Brother and sister drinking fresh lemonade and eating croissants at the Colorado State FairTaste The Best Fair Food & Local Dishes This Summer & Discover Your Favorites!

As you can see, there are countless options to choose from at the Colorado State Fair. Additionally, since new fair foods are added to the selection every year, this isn’t even an exhaustive list of all the local dishes you’ll find at the fair.

While the fair foods above are some of the most special and most popular, there are many other “standard” foods at the Colorado State Fair that don’t require much explanation. Other examples include french fries, curly fries, fried onion strips, brisket, chili dogs, fried eggrolls, popcorn shrimp, baby back ribs, hamburgers, potato salad, frozen yogurt, sorbet, milkshakes, snow cones, sweet and sesame kettle corn, plus much more!

So whatever your preference, you’re sure to find plenty of delicious goodies at the Colorado State Fair. Give us a visit this summer and try these delicious treats for yourself!

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