The Hunt For Deep Fried Jambalaya

It’s one of those things I always romanticize when it comes to involving the kids- going to the State Fair.

Oh, think of how much fun they’ll have seeing all the weetle animals! And eating all the amazing food! And playing all the games and riding all the rides!

It all sounds like a pretty picture in my head… until we’ve actually been there for about, oh, 45 minutes, and we’re packed into the midway in search of some “award-winning” fried something-or-other, pushing 2 screaming kids in strollers, wondering why it feels like August.

But by that time we’ve already invested time and money to get in, so it’s not like we can just say, “Welp, bad idea. Let’s go home.”

No really. It’s like we’ve trapped ourselves because what did we do when we walked in and were still romantic about the notion of being there? Bought $40 in tickets.

And we must spend them. There is no way Scott will leave without spending them.

So we walk to the Ferris Wheel – only to see a line that rivals those at Disney World. At least we have the good sense to not trap ourselves in that. 

We continue wandering about, making a 1.5 hour stop in the Auto Show because it’s air-conditioned. The Texas State Fair is a lot less about cows and pigs as it is about next year’s lineup of cars and trucks for us. Maybe if  the pigs could set up in climate controlled conditions we’d take more time to visit with them.

After that, we set off, purchasing random bits, on the continuous hunt for the food that makes the Texas State Fair famous. You can get a fried candy bar anywhere these days, but where else can you get fried jambalaya?

Only at the end of this very long line, that’s where.

Trapped again.

But all was going to be well! We were going to spend the last of our tickets, eat our fried ridiculousness and FINALLY GET TO LEAVE.

30 minutes and 10 meltdowns later, I scrapped Kendall off the asphalt under the tent, peeled Leyna out of the stroller she had melted into, and we sat down to feast on some fair fare.

And we were gonna LIKE IT, dammit.

After 5 hours (yes, five!), we poured the melted children, dripping with sugar and resentment, back into their carseats. The trip was a… success? I mean, they saw at least 1 animal for every 10 girls they saw in shorts that exposed their butt cheeks.

They promptly passed out, only for Kendall to wake up at 9:30 that night. The good news was he had forgiven us. The bad news was he wanted to stay up until 3 in the morning.

I’m sure we’ll be back next year because we’re gluttons for punishment and fried-things-that-probably-shouldn’t-be-fried-but-OMG-so-good like that.

Did you make it to your state fair this year? Please tell me I wasn’t the only mom shouting, “I DON’T CARE. JUST TAKE ME HOME! I WANT AWAY FROM ALL THESE PEOPLE!” at her husband near the ring-toss game after 45 minutes of searching for the deep-fried chocolate cake.

Thanks to Chevy for the tickets. I promise we stopped by and looked at lots of your cars and trucks in the air-conditioned auto show. Well played.

 

  • Joanna @ Growing Up in Oz - We went last year for Chevy and it wasn’t so bad because Hannah slept through most of it. I wasn’t prepared to take both of them this year, maybe we’ll try next year when they are 2 and 4? I dunno, we’ll see :).ReplyCancel

    • Jill - I feel like 2 and 4 is the most wretched age combo! It’s possibly the closest I’ve ever been to raising 2 wild dogs.ReplyCancel

      • Kelly - No! Don’t say that! I have a 1 and 3 year old and I keep telling myself they get better in public by 2 and 4. Well..CRAP. I guess I will continue going out and creating a scene all over town….ReplyCancel

        • Jill - Yes, yes you will.

  • Willow M - Not to brag BUT we managed to spend 2 1/2 hours at our state fair this year and leave with *mostly* happy children… We had a HORRID time last year and I refused to live through a repeat. I printed a map out before hand, asked my family what they wanted to see, and plotted out points and a rout that avoided major attractions (ie the midway). Luckily the ‘kid-way’ was far away from the beer guzzling college students in the midway that I can’t stand. All in all it was a great experience! I got to see the craft barn, the kids pet animals and rode rides (my 2yo’s first time!), and we all ate our fill of grease and sugar.
    Ok.. maybe I was braging!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - We have gone 2 years in a row since being in Dallas. Both times was very similar to you except add deciding to ride the Dart (trapped in a fast metal can with the smelliest, rudest folks in all of Dallas) I buy WAY Too many tickets, get a corny dog then my husband begs to leave. This year with a 9 month old, we decided to save our sanity and pass.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - And I STILL haven’t made it to the State Fair. Next year I’ll go. I swear. At least she has no idea it exists yet, so I’m still good. Each year I keep saying I’ll take a day off during the week and go, because I just cannot handle the crazy on the weekends. Just.can’t.do it.ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - We were at your State Fair last weekend.
    Let’s see, it was the OU-Texas (yes, OU-Texas is what we call it in Oklahoma) and DISD weekend.

    Needless to say, it was PACKED.

    I didn’t even get anything fired. I got a microwaved corndog in the stadium!!
    The lines were too long for anything fried, or really, anything at all.

    But I did learn a little interesting little bit of info…
    You can use the tickets next year!! When we heard that, we loaded up (still taking us about an hour to get out of the Fair, just the Fair, not the parking lot) and headed to Manny’s………

    Well worth it!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Oliver-Hinchliffe - I would give almost anything to go to a state fair! I’m not sure what jambalaya actually is, so will google this…ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Flora Ross - Aw. We went to the county fair last spring and had a blast. Sorry your experience was such a bummer. :(ReplyCancel

    • Jill - Meh… not a bummer. Just, you know, par for the course. I mean, I should totally stop living in fantasy land when it comes to this stuff. Now, had we NOT got to eat the fried jambalaya? Total bummer.ReplyCancel

  • TheNextMartha - I’ve been to the TX state fair exactly once. We were without kids so it was an amazing Crisco fried fun time.ReplyCancel

    • Jill - Without kids would be amazing. I even contemplated going 2x next year, once sans children.ReplyCancel

  • Sareh - Drool! I went to the TX State fair last year with some girlfriends. I do not envy you carting two kids around, but the food…OMG the food was worth every penny!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - We have a 4.5 y/o son and an 18 mt old daughter. We chose to make it a DADDY-SON fun day while me and the missus bought out Super Target. It worked out swimmingly. Might do the same thing next year, too! When she’s 3 we’ll revisit. Oh yeah. and we might be brave enough fot air travel then, too! And restaurants! Toddleritis ends at 3, no? Don’t answer that.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - Naps on the way home in the evenings freak me out. My almost 2 year old slept only 20 minutes in the car and bedtime turned into hell! Your blog is such fun to read.ReplyCancel

  • Leigh Ann - Oh this sounds like just about every outing we take with two 4 year olds and a 2 year old. Thank you for making me feel so normal.

    I have been telling my husband for the past 13 years that we’ve been together that I wanted to go to the fair with him, but we’ve never made it (we live in Austin but I grew up in Dallas). It’s looking more and more crowded and expensive, less and less appealing.ReplyCancel

  • Maggie Williams - went to fair. Had the deep fried jambalaya. was delicious ate 2. Corny dogs was not so good they were mushy the crust.ReplyCancel

  • Baby Rabies - Wait… we can use the State Fair coupons the NEXT YEAR? That’s a game changer. Eh… who am I kidding? Like we’d be able to find them in a year.ReplyCancel

  • Kelli Hamilton Adams - We took our 2 year old on a Wednesday to avoid to crowds and it was so worth using our time-off from work. Short lines for food – you could walk right up to a Fletcher’s stand and get a corny dog. Aiden liked petting Elsie and Beauregard (the Borden Milk cows) and we all enjoyed the fried Samoas. Definitely will never go on the weekend again!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole Stidham - Did you just write about our trip to the air show?ReplyCancel

  • Elaine A. - We had a great time, you know after we got over the fact that Big Tex burned up right before our very eyes!!

    (I even posted about my Instagram pic that was RTed many times!) ha!

    Anyway, it DOES get better as they get older. We took my 8,5 and 3 year old and all had a great time. And my MIL and I enjoyed the fried Tres Leches cake while the guys were at the midway and my little girl napped. :) DELISH!ReplyCancel

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