Fair Fare

Photos courtesy of CA State Fair
cal state fair

With the state fair canceled this summer due to the pandemic, how are you going to get your deep-fried Twinkie fix? Easy: Through CA STATE FAIR FOOD FESTIVAL TO-GO, a weekly pop-up on Fridays at Cal Expo.

Each week, a new menu is posted at CalExpoStateFair.com/to-go. One week it could be a smoked whole turkey leg with mac ’n’ cheese, another week barbecue tri-tip and loaded mashed potatoes. Diners order and pay online, then drive up to Cal Expo’s main gate on Friday between 4 and 6 p.m. for contactless pickup.

ca state fair

The menu for Friday, June 19, includes barbecue pulled pork sandwich, brown-sugar baked beans with bacon, elote corn cup and salted caramel chocolate brownies. Each meal costs $20 and feeds two. For $9, you can add a jumbo corn dog to your order.

Cal Expo’s on-site caterer came up with the idea for the to-go meals after hearing from disappointed fairgoers who didn’t want to miss out on their annual allotment of corndogs and funnel cakes. The first week, the menu sold out within 48 hours. Each week, the caterer prepares more than 500 meals, which have sold out each time. Cal Expo is planning an expanded to-go menu for July 3, in honor of the Fourth of July.

In a nod to another state fair tradition, Cal Expo will hold a canned food drive on Monday, June 22, from noon to 7 p.m. Bring nonexpired, nonperishable food items to the main gate and someone will pick up your donation from your car. The first 500 donors will receive a $5 off coupon on a $30 purchase from Save Mart and a FoodJets coupon. SMUD, which is sponsoring the food drive, will give each donor a mini hand sanitizer. Food donations go to the Elk Grove Food Bank. For more information, go to https://calexpostatefair.com/smud-giving-mondays-at-cal-expo/.

cal state fair to go food