Milkshakes that can feed a family of four, bacon-wrapped pork belly on a stick and something called the “Angry Chicken” sandwich are waiting for you at The Big Fresno Fair.
Ah yes, it’s time to put your fat pants on, forget about the diet and eat your way from one end of the fairgrounds to another.
The Big Fresno Fair opens Wednesday, Oct. 5, for its 12-day run. And while there is plenty to see, including livestock, concerts, art exhibits and carnival rides, there’s also lots of food – lots of fried, decadent, over-the-top food.
Of course, there are some healthy options like fresh fruit cups, shish kebobs, and even a tofu corn dog, but that’s not what people ogle as they walk around the fairgrounds. They stare at the foot-long corn dogs or the bucket of curly fries.
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“It’s why some people come to the fair,” says Matthew Holguin of Fabe’s Churros and Gelato. “They love the novelty of foods, the stuff that is larger than life. And where else can you find milkshakes like ours?”
Holguin isn’t kidding. His milkshakes are huge. The concoctions come in six special varieties and are piled high with toppings. He expects to sell about 5,000 of them in Fresno.
One of his milkshakes is called the FPD, as in Fresno Police Department, and is made with coffee gelato, whipped cream and a doughnut. Another big seller is the strawberry shortcake that has strawberry gelato, whipped cream, a slice of angel food cake and three fresh strawberries.
And that isn’t only thing Fabe’s is known for. The food booth, named after Holguin’s father Fabian who passed away in March, serves churros in five different flavors, a gelato sandwich made with churros and something called a churro dog. The dog, is a maple bar split in half, with a churro in the middle and topped with whip cream and chocolate syrup.
Other wacky offerings will come from Chicken Charlie’s, the master of deep-fried goodness. In his frying basket will be deep fried peanut butter pickles, deep-friend bacon-wrapped guacamole and chicken in the waffle on a stick.
Bacon lovers pay attention. Garlicky’s is rolling out its bacon-wrapped pork belly on a stick and pork belly nachos.
Also new to the fair this year is The Gingerbread Shop and Hamilton Ranch’s glazed nuts. The Gingerbread shop will offer gingerbread cake, apple crisp and Mexican fried ice cream. Hamilton’s Ranch has glazed cinnamon/vanilla pecans, almonds and cashews.
Wellmon Concessions, whose booth is Grinders Sandwiches, is introducing the Angry Chicken Sandwich to the Fresno fair.
The sandwich’s ingredients include: a fresh hoagie roll coated with chipotle mayo, sliced jalapeños, spicy mustard, a layer of Monterey Jack cheese, chicken strips, more cheese, onions, pepperoncini and a generous helping of pastrami.
“It’s just a big ol’ spicy sandwich that will feed a couple of people,” says David Wellmon, of Wellmon Concessions, a fair vendor since 1967.
Wellmon says his son came up with the sandwich that sells for $15. At first, Wellmon didn’t think anyone would buy it at that price. He was wrong.
“It’s something crazy and people love it,” he says.
For those who prefer something more familiar, the good old standbys are back. Country Fair Cinnamon rolls has three booths. The baker’s sweet and buttery rolls are a must have as are the rolled soft tacos, the smoked turkey leg, and the Indian taco.
Sequoia Schnoover, of Munch A Bunch, the makers of the Indian tsaaco, says the soft Indian fry bread topped with beans, ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and cheese is like comfort food. He sells about 4,000 during the Big Fresno Fair.
Perhaps not as popular but certainly healthier, Schoonover will also offer a tofu corn dog. It did well in Marin and the Bay Area. He’s not sure how it will do in Fresno.
“We will see what happens,” Schoonover says. “This is a different type of community and you guys like meat down here. And that’s okay, I do too.”