Cover Image: Amanda Cantrell via pexels

With only a few weeks of summer left, we can’t help but think that summer really wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a state fair. There’s just something about good ol’ American competition, concerts, Midway’s carnival rides, the smell of hay, and pretty much deep-fried-anything on a stick — all in one place. So, if you’re planning a cross-country road trip, or  you plan to  travel locally around your state this summer, why not make a state fair part of your road trip itinerary?

Of course, if you miss out on summer fairs, we have details on a few in the fall and winter, too! Here are some great upcoming fairs you don’t want to miss …

9. The Indiana State Fair / Indianapolis, IN

July 30 — August 22, 2021

Hoosiers can’t wait for the Indiana State Fair to see what new and wild food combinations they’ll come up with next. New foods in 2021 include a beef parfait, a peanut butter and jelly burger, and a Fruity Pebbles funnel cake. The food is reason enough to go, but don’t miss Animal Town, Pioneer Village, or a ride on the Sleep Number Skyride while you’re there.

8. The Iowa State Fair / Des Moines, IA

August 12 — 22, 2021

The Iowa State Fair is one of the oldest in the country, but don’t let its age fool you. Today, the fair offers an impressive lineup of entertainment acts, livestock and art competitions, and unique attractions featuring monster trucks and good old-fashioned tractor pulls. Iowa also has its own life-sized cow made out of 600 pounds of butter. However, this is where “food on a stick” was invented, so be sure to partake in this grand tradition with your choice of apple pie-on-a-stick, fried pineapple-on-a-stick, Caprese salad-on-a-stick, fried Snickers-on-a-stick … and over 75 more things-on-a-stick.

7. The Kentucky State Fair / Louisville, KY

August 19 — 29, 2021

The Kentucky State Fair started over 200 years ago in 1816 but didn’t become official until 1902. After traveling from city to city for several years, it finally settled in Louisville, where today the fair has found a permanent home at the humongous 520-acre Kentucky Exposition Center. Back in the day, the fair featured trick bears, award-winning horses, and the Parade of Champions. Though the bears are gone, the horses still remain the centerpiece of the fair, which has been visited by over half a million people every year (except 2020) since 2014.

6. The Great New York State Fair / Syracuse, NY

August 20 — September 6, 2021

This Syracuse fair includes rides, music, entertainment, and a food-truck competition, so you know these vendors are going to be bringing their “A” game. Try the chicken and waffles pizza, vegan chicken wings, and deep fried … well … everything, including Girl Scout cookies and alligator! After all of that, why not slake your thirst with a wine slushy? Now you see why they call it the “Great” New York State Fair.

5. The Minnesota State Fair / St. Paul, MN

August 26 — Labor Day, Sept. 6, 2021

Beginning as a local fair back in 1859, the Minnesota State Fair has since become the largest state fair in the country, welcoming more than two million visitors a year to its 322-acre fairgrounds. Like its neighbor Iowa to the south, the Minnesota State Fair is known for introducing new foods that are usually put on a stick and then deep-fried; however, this year guests can look forward to new mouth-watering stickless food and drinks, including bison bites — meat-filled ravioli inspired by the Northwoods — and Cucumber Jalapeño Limeade made with juiced Minnesota-grown cucumbers and jalapeño syrup, served with a sliced, cool cucumber. Yum!

4. The Oklahoma State Fair / Oklahoma City, OK

September 16 — 26, 2021

Where can you take in Disney on Ice, watch extreme bull riding, and/or try your hand at arm wrestling, all at the same big venue? We’ll tell you where — the Oklahoma State Fair! Of course, you’ll also find plenty of rides and games for kids (and kids at heart) while you’re there, not to mention three different types of corn dogs, and for you foodies, their famous ice-cold root beer.

3. The State Fair of Texas / Dallas, TX

September 24 — October 17, 2021

“Big Tex” — the giant sculpture you can’t miss at this fair — has been welcoming fairgoers to the State Fair of Texas since 1949. But the fair itself has taken place every year since 1886, except during World War I, World War II, and more recently 2020 (due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The longest-running state fair in the nation, the 2021 theme for the fair is “Howdy, Folks!”, inviting both Texans and people from all around the country to experience all the mouth-watering food, thrilling rides, and exciting shows that are, like the state itself, too big to mention in our little article.

2. The Georgia State Fair / Hampton, GA

October 1—10, 2021

Once held in Macon, the 172-year-old Georgia State Fair can now be found at the Atlanta Motor Speedway just outside the state capitol. For some, just being at the Speedway is pretty exciting. But add in midway rides, fair food, a live wolf encounter, pig racing, Lady Houdini, and championship wrestling, and we’ve already started mapping out our next Georgia road trip!

1. The North Carolina State Fair / Raleigh, NC

October 14 — 24, 2021

The largest 11-day agricultural event in the country (and the biggest annual event in the Tar Heel State), the North Carolina State fair brings in millions of visitors every year. Go for the “Luther Burger” — a bacon cheeseburger served on a split Krispy Kreme doughnut “bun,” but stay for the horse and livestock shows.

And one to grow on … The Florida State Fair / Tampa, FL

February 10 — 21, 2022

If you missed out on your state fair this summer and fall, no worries. The Florida State Fair doesn’t start until February and features Midway rides, a model train show, a pretty exciting circus, and of course delicious state fair food like gelato nachos, deep-fried lava cake, dill pickle pizza, and the Pig Rig — a grilled-cheese sandwich stuffed with BBQ pork and mac-and-cheese and topped off with even more barbecue sauce. When you’re finished, wash it all down with the fair’s famous lemonade.

On your way to the fair or back home, be sure to make a Stuckey’s stop part of your road trip. You can browse our wide selection of treats and classic candy, including Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls, Pecan Divinity and Pecan Pralines — and trust us, they are even better than you remember! And of course, it wouldn’t be a Stuckey’s stop without getting a few of our road trip snacks and  kitschy souvenirs.

You can also order Stuckey’s merchandise online and have it sent right to your front door. If you can’t figure out what to get, surprise yourself and your loved ones with a Stuckey’s Mystery Box. What’s in it? Well, if we told you it would ruin the surprise, wouldn’t it?

Visit stuckeys.com for more info.

Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!