This year, our Editor and Publisher Carole Nicksin had the honor of helping to choose the winner of the Sporkies – a food competition that pits Wisconsin State Fair vendors against each other in a fight for a 13-foot Spork trophy. That trophy then goes in front of the winning vendor’s stand during the fair to let all visitors know where to get the tastiest new State Fair dish.
“It was really exiting!” Nicksin said, “The amazing thing was that there were taste combinations that I never imagined, and so many of them actually really tasted good together.”
Here’s a peek at the finalists:
- Cinnamon Roll and Bacon Cheese Curds
- Deep-Fried Pineapple Express (pineapple rings rolled in coconut and panko breading and deep-fried)
- Deep-Fried Wisconsin Fish Fry (“all the traditional elements of a famous Wisconsin Fish Fry rolled together and deep-fried”)
- Glazy Boy (a grilled donut sandwich with two slices of Fontina cheese, pork loin, raspberry whole grain mustard, and pickled jalapeños)
- Paradise Po’ Boy (deep-fried coconut shrimp on a bed of homemade slaw)
- Peanut Butter Squealers (A breakfast sausage baked inside a Belgian waffle, smothered in peanut butter, topped with bacon and served on a stick)
- Polish Puppies On-a-Stick (deep fried hush puppies stuffed with sauteed onions, sauerkraut, Klement’s Jalepeno Polish and cheddar cheese)
- Sorrentina Bites (ditalini pasta with three Italian cheese, breaded)
And the winner is (drum roll please): The Glazy Boy!
“The winner was my own personal favorite,” Nicksin said. “It sounded to me like something that a stoned person might put together in their kitchen at 2 a.m. And even if that’s what it was, it was darn good.”
Nicksin was joined by an esteemed panel of four other judges including Peggy Williams from Visit Milwaukee, Omar Shaikh from Surge Restaurant Group, local celebrity sports host and reporter Dario Melendez and fairgoer Stena M. Each of the judges voted by ballot for a winner.
“We all had to laugh,” Nicksin said about the winning grilled donut sandwich. “But it all worked!”
In second place was the Deep-Fried Wisconsin Fish Fry. The bronze went to the Paradise Poll Boy, which Nicksin said was a challenge to taste.
“It was real tough to get in my mouth, but it was worth the trouble,” Nicksin said.
While the Sorrentina Bites, didn’t bring home a victory, Nicksin highly recommends checking them out at the fair as well, saying it was something she could see eating at a nice Italian restaurant.
You can get all of these foods at the Wisconsin State Fair this year, which kicks off this Thursday.