Proving Des Moines is NOT boring

Iowa State Fair Food Competitions

I love fair food. I feel like that’s a pretty common sentiment among Des Moinesians. Beyond the stands full of fried butter and corn dogs, there are hundreds of other goodies behind the scenes that oft go unnoticed.

State Fair 1I’m talking about the Iowa State Fair Food competitions. While you might assume novices have no chance at taking home a ribbon, the contests actually prohibit food professionals or anyone who makes their livelihood* cooking or baking from entering. So whip up your go-to recipe or family’s signature dish and do more than just eat your weight in fried food at the fair this year.

Deadlines are this Friday June 30 with late entries being accepted until July 8th.  Sign up online here.

Did I mention there are 226 competitions? That’s right 226 competitions.  There are the staple competitions like best peach pie, and bacon dish but there are a ton more interesting competitions to choose from. I’ve highlighted a few unique ones.

KANZI’S FAVORITE DESSERT – DIVISION 85

If you want to make a special treat for a monkey, you’re in luck! One of the apes from the Bonobo Sanctuary will be judging this year.

FAVORITE TRACTOR SHAPED FOOD – DIVISION 117

Create your favorite tractor shaped food – dessert, entrée, salad, etc. Include recipe.

CHEF BARU’S GOURMET CORN CHOWDER –DIVISION 141

Many local restaurants and food manufactures sponsor the competitions like Baru 66.

State Fair 2ALLSPICE SNACK MIX DIVISION 196

This one has a very specific judging quality.

  1. Entries will be judged on Taste, Appearance and “Snack-Ability” (the ability to eat without coating fingers in the flavoring).

BEST 19TH CENTURY RIVERBOAT DISH – DIVISION 163

This one requires a dish that “would have been served on a riverboat and could be served on the Jon Anderson White Riverboat.”

 

For all you beginner’s out there unsure of where to start, how about this division?

BEGINNER’S CONTEST – DIVISION 11 (A)

The only rule is it’s your first time entering. Check out the list of competitions here and go fourth and enter!

 

*Exception for the cake decorating competition.