The State Fair has always been a family tradition for us. When we lived in Idaho, we’d make the 2 hour journey from Teton Valley to Blackfoot at least 2-3 times a year!
We started counting down the days to the Alaska State Fair in July. Yes, we are that obsessed. Fortunately, we didn’t have to drive far here. The fairgrounds are only about 10 minutes away in Palmer.
I had to work the Friday we went, but Jeff being the awesome dad he is, took Summer and Saige for the whole day after dumping Bridger and his friends off at a different entrance. Teenagers. They had the whole thing scoped out before I arrived around 5 pm.
It’s all about the food!
Face it…for us fair aficionados, we all go to eat fair food. Don’t get me wrong, I loved walking around and looking at exhibits, playing with the hot tubs, viewing crafts and agriculture, and admiring the animals, but I was anxious to taste unique treats the Alaska State Fair had to offer.
One thing I really liked about the Alaska fair set up, was that the food vendors are interspersed between all the exhibits and other vendors. So basically, you can eat your way all through the fairgrounds while taking time-outs for sight seeing.
For our first course, we started with the classic corn-dogs, cheese curds, corn on the cob, and Saige’s craving, a curly fry log. Our method of eating is to buy 1-2 of each item, then everybody shares.
As we let the food settle before moving on to the second course, we walked around to check out the exhibits. Skillet was playing in the stage area, so modern rock music accompanied us around the fair. The atmosphere was alive with rural fun with an Alaskan twist.
First stop, agriculture. Alaska vegetables are legendary for their enormous size. Jeff has visions of entering his own giant harvest someday. The biggest on Friday was a 107 lb cabbage! (That could cause a lot of intestinal discomfort.)
The veggies get really big when they start weighing pumpkins which can go between 400-600+ lbs. We will have to try to catch those later in the week!
Since we spent so much time picking berries this summer, I was excited to see some local displays highlighting different varieties. It’s nice to see the fruit up close, as some of the edibles are really similar looking to poisonous ones.
Next, Jeff wanted to visit a Birch Syrup vendor which sounded great to me. I’ve been trying to perfect a glazed salmon recipe that is brushed with some type of syrup. I figured I may as well try it with Birch.
The ladies explained how they have 4 different “runs” in a year. Each time period produces a slightly different flavor with the 1st run very sweet, and the 4th run quite savory. We sampled all of them and picked the 3rd run to purchase. I’m pretty sure some of our birch trees will have taps in them next year.
We headed to the animals. I’m not sure what was up with the ducks, but they were extra fancy and reminded me of Haley who loves to color her dog’s hair. Summer and Saige’s favorites were the horses.
After the animals, it was time to sample some food with Alaska flare. From Reindeer Sausage, to Fried Halibut, Salmon Quesadillas, Crab Cakes, King Crab, and Oysters: the unique offerings were endless. It’s a seafood lover’s paradise!
We gorged on a grilled mixed plate and topped it off with a Denali Creme Puff. Yes, is was delicious!
Great day at the Alaska State Fair
The sun was setting as we made our way out to the parking lot. On the way out, the girls found a new friend they were begging us to purchase. He was an adorable 8 week old husky named Yukon destined to become a sled dog.
Teenagers on dates were crowding the rides, the animals were fed and tucked in for the night, and parents wondered how they’d just dumped $200 in cash at the fair.
It was all worth it! The Alaska State Fair didn’t disappoint. I’m looking forward to many more trips there this year, and in the years to follow.
**Alaska State Fair tips: the fairgrounds are in Palmer, about 30 miles out of Anchorage. You can park for five dollars, or even take the train up. Admission ranges from free to $15, check the website for promotions. Costco and 3 Bears markets have cheaper or bulk tickets to purchase before the fair starts.
Be aware that most food vendors only accept cash, so pack some small bills…a log of them.