Editor’s Note: This article is part of a multimedia package, which includes a video produced by Christian Marquez accessible on our website and on the Daily Lobo YouTube channel, username: dailylobo.
The New Mexico State Fair has come and gone once again, bringing various delights for the senses and leaving only memories of what you saw, or more importantly, what you ate. The food gains a presence of its own at the fair, and for some, it becomes free license to eat anything you would normally avoid.
For Deliah Cottel, a junior at UNM, it was another opportunity to escape campus for a few hours of distraction away from her housemates.
“Well, my roommates are vegetarian,” she said, looking at a turkey leg that was roughly the same size of her forearm. “It’s one of the few moments where I can get barbecue. So I’m getting my hands dirty.”
The mainstays, like turkey legs, elotes and deep-fried oreos, are sure to excite, but the state fair has built a reputation for the more outlandish food concoctions that it offers.
The most unique of the weird creations enter into the Unique Food Competition. This year’s contest saw competing creations such as the cotton candy and ice cream burrito, green chile apple pie and a deep fried chile relleno chile cheese dog.
Alden Montoya, another UNM student, said he found some the food too strange to even approach.
“There’s some weird food here that I don’t even want to try, because I’m scared,” Montoya said.
Ultimately, the winner of this year’s unique food contest went to Exotic Funnel Cakes.
They have a full menu of sweet combinations of the fried cake batter and various other treats, but for the contest, they took a different approach.
They came up with a green chile pepperoni funnel cake, which takes a mozzarella and pepperoni funnel cake batter, topped with marinara, more melty cheese, green chile and more pepperoni.
Mike and Linda Chavez also stopped for an Exotic Funnel Cake, but they went for the more palatable dreamsicle — a pairing of orange funnel cake and vanilla ice cream.
For their family, Mike said, the food has become another part of the greater tradition of the fair for their family, even as their roles as parents have evolved.
“We usually come every year, since the children were small. But now they’re growing up, so they’ve got their friends with them,” Mike Chavez said. “We know where they’re at, but we try to give them a little bit of space.”
“And to get the funnel cake,” Linda added.
She explained that they had even been there the week before, for the funnel cakes again.
“Last weekend, we had the s’mores, which was great,” she said.
While the state fair offers many sights and events to entertain guests, one of the biggest crowd pleasers is always the food. You can find it on almost any corner in the fairground, but once the fair is gone, you’ll have to wait until next year to get another taste.
Video and text by Christian Marquez
Christian Marquez is the multimedia editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @chrstn_marquez.