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Government and Politics

What's the best fair food? You decide.
Ohio State Fair brackets show lots of favorites, but one a deep-fried food is the winner

Andy Chow
Fairgoers fill out statehouse correspondent Andy Chow's fair food bracket.
Courtesy of Andy Chow
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When you go to the fair, you can choose from activities ranging from rides to games to exhibits. But it is safe to say that no matter what you do, you will also be grabbing a bite to eat. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow set out on a mission to discover what is Ohio’s No. 1 fair food.


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Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow was at the Ohio State Fair to answer the age-old question: What is the best fair food?

The winner was decided March Madness style. We listed the 16 best foods you could find at the fair and put them on a bracket. Just like March Madness, the list includes favorites like elephant ears, gyros and funnel cakes, and there are underdogs, like the doughnut burger and corndogs. Andy Chow walked around the fair, talked to fairgoers, had them fill out the bracket and found a winner.

Decisions, decisions
Donna's final match-up was gyros against lemon shake-ups.
"Yeah, [the shake-up] is refreshing," Donna says. "It's just a drink..."
"So really the ideal meal would be a gyro…" Chow suggests.
"With a lemon shake-up," Donna concludes. "Yeah, absolutely. Something refreshing."

Olivia prefers the deep-fried fair classics, elephant ears and funnel cakes.
But "funnel cakes is the winner," she says.
"You had a big match here, too, elephant ears against funnel cakes. That’s a big rivalry—that’s like Duke, North Carolina or OSU, Michigan."

Seven-year-old Avery from Grove City favored sweets.
"Alright, you’ve got the biggest decision right now," Chow says. "You’ve got elephant ears versus ice cream. Which one do you like more?"
"Ice cream," Avery says.
"And why is that?" Chow asks.
"Because it’s good."

Donna Jones has a battle between salty and sweet on her bracket, pitting fries against ice cream.
"The winner’s gonna be the fries," Jones says. "Oh, the bacon bits, the cheese—I’m talking the loaded fries—every year."

The front-runner
Half-way through the process, it has become clear that funnel cakes is a big favorite. And of course, just as with any other bracket, there are some tough decisions.
Karina's stuck between funnel cakes and gyros.
"It’s a hard decision," Karina says.
"What if you had all the makings of a gyro wrapped in a funnel cake?" Chow says.
"Wow," Karina responds. "That would be pretty interesting."
"So, what’s the final decision in this championship match?" Chow asks?
"I’m gonna have to say funnel cakes," Chow says. "That’s more of the fair food, anyway. Gyros you can get not at the fair, but funnel cakes are the fair food."

Hannah, who was crowned Queen of the Belgian horse breed, favored fried foods. Her finals were between funnel cakes and bloomin' onions
"Oh gosh," Hannah says. "That’s a really tough decision that’s like something I get like 10 times a week and my mom yells at me. Yeah, I’m gonna have to go with funnel cakes cause I can’t ever finish a whole bloomin’ onion."

And the winner is...
After counting the votes, the big winner is, well, the frontrunner: funnel cakes. They beat out the second-place contender, fair ice cream.
Allen from Florida runs the funnel cake stand at the Ohio State Fair. He says the secret to funnel cake's success is their nostalgic charm.

"It’s a family tradition," Allen says. "It’s been going back to 80, 100 years, somewhere in there and everybody loves funnel cakes and powdered sugar."

But you needn't heed our tally: 
Fill out your own fair food bracket here

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