A packing list for those planning on going to the Arizona State Fair’s drive-thru food show: water, a car with a working air conditioner, a full tank of gas, and patience.
This show is not for those who only sort of like carnival stuff. You have to be totally committed to your love of pizza, funnel cake and corn dogs for the wait to be worth it.
On the first day Arizona State Fair drive-thru food show, people were ready and waiting at the exhibition venue when the gates opened at noon.
Any illusions that this event would not be fully packaged were shattered when I arrived at 12:15 p.m. Lines of cars snaked around the parking lot and stretched to the entrances on Monte Vista Road and 19th Avenue.
Around 12:30 p.m., a passenger in the vehicle in front of me jumped out of the car, irritated, possibly realizing that he was waiting a long time and sweating in the midday sun. After a few minutes, a state fair employee helped them escape the queue and they pushed him to the exit, but most people seemed more than ready to wait for their snack.
How does a drive-thru fair food work?
It took about an hour and 15 minutes after entering the gate to get to the start of the food line. At this point, the participant enters a fast-moving car loop, and can choose to stop at a vendor or drive past it and drive to the next one.
There’s no way to avoid going through the entire round, so you’d better kick in and get as much food as possible to make your wait time worth it. The employees who controlled the traffic at this event deserved applause as they did a wonderful job setting the line of cars at 100 degrees.
It took a little over an hour to get through the entire drive-thru loop while stopping for items at five different vendors. There are nine to choose from including:
- Pizza Enzo serving pizza, wings and cannoli.
- Kettle Corn.
- Fry A Fair serving fried Oreos, snickers, cookie dough and more.
- Ranch serving giant turkey legs, pork chop on sticks, and BBQ.
- Teepee Village Fried Bread serving indian tacos and more.
- Sweet dream serving cotton candy, caramel apples, popcorn and slushies.
- Dutch Funnel Cake serving funnel cakes and churros.
- Mustard’s Cafe serving corn dogs, nachos and fries.
- Completely Baked Pastries portion cookies, ice cream sandwiches and frozen lemonade.
The full menu is available on the State Fair website: azstatefair.com/drivethrufairfood/
5 Arizona State food fair from worst to best
These ratings are incomplete and represent the sweet and savory food combinations of the five drive-thru vendors. This year, most of the old standards are available as a substitute for the wild and strange fair food of previous years.
5. Wrapped corn dog bacon
While corn dogs are usually a great mix of sweet and salty, bacon somehow dampens this one. The meat is on the inside under the corn dough, so it’s wet and chewy. The standard corn dog is recommended as a substitute for the bacon wrapped version.
Vendors: Mustard’s Cafe
Price: $ 9
4. Indian tacos
It’s hard to beat the freshly fried bread, and this part of the plate is sure to be delicious, but the topping of the taco’s pea and chili meat lacks seasoning. If you order this, maybe pack a little hot sauce in your car to add on top.
Vendors: Teepee Village Fried Bread
Price: $ 13
3. Flaming Hot Cheetos pizza
It’s just a cheese pizza with Flaming Hot Cheetos dumped on it, but it really hits the spot. The taste is extra delicious because it is the first item that can be ordered after queuing for hours.
Vendors: Pizza Enzo
Price: $ 7
2. Nutella funnel cake
A soft and fluffy funnel cake topped with Nutella sauce, powdered sugar, and whipped cream, hard to beat. These funnel cakes are light, airy, and not too greasy.
Vendors: Dutch Funnel Cake
Price: $ 11
1. Fried snickers
Fried snickers is nothing new, but there’s a reason it’s an old favorite. These melty snickers are surrounded by a sweet and cakey dough topped with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar. Don’t miss this one.
Vendors: Fry A Fair
Price: $ 6
Overall, if you are bored and want to fill in the gaps of fried food in your life and want to spend a few hours in your car, head to the drive-thru. Just remember: Your clothes may smell like bacon if your car stalls next to a turkey foot smoker for too long. I speak from experience.
Fair Food Drive-Thru
date: Friday to Sunday, September 25-27 and Friday to Sunday, October 2-4.
Time: Day-9 at night
Where: Enter from 19th Avenue and Monte Vista.
Further information: azstatefair.com/drivethrufairfood/.
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