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State fair embraces food on a stick with new vittles

By Amy Bickel

The Hutchinson News

Forget the diet. This year's Kansas State Fair is all about delicacies that are deep-fried and on a stick.

There's cheese, alligator and calamari on a stick. You can even get pancakes and macaroni 'n' cheese wrapped in bacon on a stick.

"Every concessionaire is well aware of my want for food on a stick," said Sue Stoecklein, the fair's commercial exhibits director.

Stick food, after all, is right in line with the fair's mentality, which features the "Get on a Stick" theme this year. And Stoecklein said she is unveiling a new contest for food vendors this year -- best use of theme.

It's just part of the hype leading up to this year's fair -- the new food lineup almost as anticipated as who is going to perform on the grandstand stage.

Stoecklein unveiled a few of the foods to board members Tuesday morning, which included a vendor selling eight flavors of pork rinds and a gentleman who makes his own "Old Texas Soda," which he sells in a stainless-steel mug.

Also on the fair menu this year is deep-fried Jell-O and cheesecake, along with frosted-flake fried chicken.

The chicken vendor "brought some in for the staff to try, and it was amazing -- sweet and salty and it was on a stick, too," Stoecklein said.

Meanwhile, the Kansas Fair Foundation is selling "On the Stick Tour" T-shirts with all the fair's food-on-a-stick items, said fair board member Cindy O'Neal.

Sticks aside, Stoecklein admits there have been a few hiccups this year. What gave her the biggest worry was when the fair's only cheese-curd vendor decided to skip this year's fair.

"I've never had to search out vendors before," she said.

No worries, fried-cheese aficionados: Stoecklein secured another Wisconsin vendor.

In other business:

Cindy O'Neal made a motion that the fair "continue to negotiate on a real estate matter." No other details were available on whether a purchase of property or sale of property would be made before the next board meetings in September.

(c)2014 The Hutchinson News