By Cassandra VanKeuren Special to The Herald
Can you go to the Evergreen State Fair and not have fried food? Yes, but why would you?
Especially when there are so many tantalizing treats, like fried Oreos, fried Snickers, fried Twinkies, funnel cakes, elephant ears, corn dogs, piroshkys, turnovers and curly fries.
If you do need something less fried and fresher, however, there’s lots to choose from as well at this year’s fair.
My first stop of the day was in the food court at a food truck called “Rainy Day Gourmet.”
They offered truffled mushroom grilled cheese ($7), a balsamic barbecue pork sandwich ($7), Parmesan garlic fries ($7) and a spicy shrimp sandwich ($8), which is what I tried.
The sandwich consisted of a large French roll, chipotle avocado mayo, cilantro, lettuce and tomato and, of course, shrimp. The sandwich was huge and fresh tasting. It was very filling without being heavy.
I topped off my meal with strawberry lemonade ($2.50). Then my son and I hopped over to Fisher Scones and treated ourselves to peach shortcake ($4.25).
Our peach shortcake was a small scone, canned peaches and whipped cream. A sweet treat to finish off our lunch.
During our time at the rides, my son and I got super thirsty. We spied Thelma’s frozen lemonade and cashews.
We got a frozen lemonade to share ($4 or 2 for $7). The lemonade had real pulp and a slushy consistently and was refreshing without being overly sweet. She also offered fresh roasted cashews at $4 for a quarter-pound. My favorite thing about Thelma’s is that if you keep your cup, you get a refill for $2.
After we had our fill of rides, we sought out a new vendor at the fair this year, Fleischkuechle, near the race track. It is a German turnover vendor. Some of the offerings are beef turnovers ($5), breakfast turnovers ($5) and fruit turnovers ($5). I chose a beef turnover and an apple turnover.
My personal favorite was the apple. Sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, it was the perfect deep-fried indulgence. And then we topped that treat off with a butter-dipped corn on the cob sold by the Lions Club ($2.75), located near the poultry and rabbit show.
We spent so much time viewing the animals that we got hungry at just about the time to go home. So we stopped by The Purple Cow, the ice cream booth run by the Snohomish County Dairy Women.
Their claim to fame is the Purple Cow float — blackberry ice cream with 7-Up and topped with blackberry syrup. If you are the lucky person to order the 13th purple cow, you get it for free.
I decided not to go for the float because my heart — and stomach — was set on an ice cream cone. The friendly and very funny guy dressed in cow garb scooped us up blackberry ice cream in a waffle cone ($4.50) and a mint chocolate chip in a wafer cone ($4).
That truly was a perfect ending to a day at the fair, my son and I walking through the concourse enjoying all the bright lights each of us with an ice cream cone in hand and the sun setting behind us.
Here are some things to keep in mind when visiting and dining at the fair.
Bring cash, more than you think you need. Almost none of the vendors take cards. There are ATMs but they charge a big fee for use.
Bring hand sanitizer because hand-washing stations are few and far between.
And I know this one is obvious but I am going to write it anyway: After you fill up on all the yummy treats take some time to view all the animals and displays and then go ride the rides. Your tummy will thank you for it.
For more information on all the food choices at the Evergreen State Fair go to www.evergreenfair.org/.