Monday, September 22, 2008

Festival food: North Georgia State Fair and East Atlanta Strut

For those not from these parts, Atlanta is a bit steamy for outdoor fun during the summer, but fall is a time of pristine blue skies and 70 degree temperatures. They're the kind of days when you look for any excuse to head outside. This weekend's weather was Atlanta at its best, and it happened to coincide with the North Georgia State Fair and the East Atlanta Strut.

I hadn't been to a good fair in a wild, so I was very excited to throw caution to the wind and indulge in some greasy fair-food staples. The boyfriend and I headed north on Friday night to take in the N. Georgia fair. In between checking out the alligator wrestling and the swimming pigs, we were starving, so we scope out all of our options. It's rare I get to eat a corn dog, so that was a must-have for me, and we decided to split a chili-cheese dog and some fries to boot. If we're going to eat like our aquatic porcine friends, white not really go for it?
As expected the chili-dog was a delicious, albeit incredibly messy, treat. Not as good as the Varisty's version, but then again, what is? Even better, though, was the corn dog. The corn outside was just the right mix of crispy, soft and sweet, and we quickly gobbled ours up. Why aren't more things covered in a crispy-soft corn shell? Thank you Knights of Columbus, you know good food on a stick! I had been hoping to indulge a craving for a funnel cake, but we were too stuffed for that, and it is distinctly possible that the rather Deliverance-esque crowd made me lose my appetite a bit.

The East Atlanta strut was the following day and thankfully came complete with a less appetite-ruining crowd. I'd never been to this event, but it was a blast. It was great people watching, with a fantastic parade of community activists, weirdos of all shapes and sizes and even a crew of dressed up pugs. There was no shortage of beer on hand, and the boyfriend enjoyed his Red Brick Ale. I'm no beer fan, but even I can appreciate the joys of a cold beer and no open container laws on a lovely Fall day.After the parade we scoped our dining options and opted for the Flatiron because we could snag a seat on the patio. Again we indulged our festival-food cravings with a gyro and a cheeseburger. My standards are notably lower for food when I'm sunning myself on a patio with live music playing nearby and primo Atlanta people-watching on parade, but I really did enjoy my gyro. No different from what you can get at Great Wraps in any mall food court, but still it hit the spot at that moment.Haute cuisine it wasn't, but I enjoyed trashing the diet and eating hearty festival food that reminds me of events from childhood. There are a number of food related events coming up (Harvest, Great Chili-Cookoff, Les Dames at Serenbe), so I imagine I'll have lots of opportunity to eat higher caliber food, but for this weekend at least, I was content with sun, fun and a hearty helping of junk food.

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