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From peaches to pickles: Sampling foodie favorites at the 2022 Maryland State Fair

The 141st Maryland State Fair kicks off this year with rides, animals and sweet, savory and fried foods prepared with a lot of local pride and a bit of friendly competition.

“It’s a race to see which food is the best and you can get fried anything,” said Gerry Brewster, chairman of the Maryland State Fair board.

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While funnel cakes, Italian sausages, chicken tenders, lemonade and all things fried (from cheese to Oreos) are mainstay fair fare nationwide, Maryland State Fair celebrates local food culture and cultivators.

“There’s some really legendary things here,” Brewster said, noting the “crabby patty,” from Marsha Henley’s Convenience Catering and the peach sundae and kettle corn by Stan Dabkowski, better known as Farmer Stan.

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Fair attendees return for the crabby patty, Henley said, because of its unique combination of both a Maryland crab cake and deep-fried soft shell crab on a bun.

Dabkowski has had returning customers since he began selling kettle corn at the Maryland State Fair in 1981. The sweet, buttery, crunchiness is beloved by fair attendees and comes in a bag large enough to snack now and later.

“Everybody craves [the kettle corn],” Brewster said.

The peach sundae is not just a cool treat to beat the heat and humidity, it’s a fresh take on the familiar. The Maryland peaches hit differently than the average sundae with fresh taste and texture in every bite.

“We just peeled [the peaches] in the back, fixed them up, and then we put them in really good high-fat content and vanilla ice cream that’s delicious and top it off with a little bit of vanilla whipped cream,” Dabkowski explained.

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With longtime favorites drawing crowds, new fare has to be delicious to steal the show.

Beau Pugh, owner of Deggeller Attractions, debuted the Pickle Pizza at this year’s event, immediately winning foodie fans.

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A new food item at this year's Maryland State Fair is pickle pizza, consisting of pickles and ranch sauce base.

“The Pickle Pizza is coming in strong,” Brewster said.

Created with a ranch sauce base, layers of cheese, dill pickles and secret spices, it’s an extravaganza of flavors. The key is to get every ingredient in each bite. Pugh said there’s pickle juice in the ranch sauce, the key to taking the creamy dressing to another level. Plus the pickles miraculously keep their crunch even after baking, adding more texture to the pie.

The Maryland State Fair is a nonprofit, volunteer-led organization that provides opportunities, entertainment and funds for state residents.

“Any money that is made here goes back to the people of the State of Maryland and providing things like this,” Brewster said, encouraging guests to attend one of the three consecutive four-day weekends at the fair. “Marylanders from one end of the state to the other get together here to enjoy the food, rides, the racing.”


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