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(article, Ashley Griffin Gartland)
It’s the tail end of fair season — that time of year when Americans can head to the country and feast on roasted ears of corn, fluffy funnel cakes, hot dogs on a stick, sticky elephant ears, and towering stacks of strawberry shortcake. If we tire of snacking, we can enter food-related competitions both traditional and wacky. In July, the Montana State Fair held the Great American SPAM Championships. The contest prompted a wealth of entries, including multiple entries from one particular family. You can enter similar SPAM-sponsored competitions at a number of fairs across the country, and if you're lucky, have your recipe featured on the winners' page alongside instructions for SPAMquitos and SPAM Surprise. In August, the Illinois State Fair held its inaugural Breakfast on a Stick contest. Sponsored by the state’s agriculture department and the American Egg Board, the contest required that entries appear on a stick and use at least one egg. The first winner presented Sensational Sunrise Dippers (better described as sausage, egg, and cheese wrapped in a biscuit with a side of gravy) while second prize went to Bacon-Wrapped Savory Buttermilk Crêpes. There was even a winning entry in the junior category that combined eggs, curry, bean sprouts, and snow peas in a wonton wrapper — on a stick. This month, Washington’s Puyallup Fair highlights the art of table setting and the Texas State Fair follows domestic suit with a contest for the best canned fruits and veggies. For those who'd rather eat than cook, the June opening weekend at New Jersey’s State Fair Meadowlands featured the first-ever pigs’-feet-and-knuckle-eating contest. Too daring? Check out your local county or state fair; there's sure to be a pie-eating contest waiting for you.