Sure, L.A. already has a food stand devoted to crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but to get an Uncrustables that’s dipped in batter, deep-fried, smothered in strawberry jelly, clobbered with powdered sugar and inundated with Fruity Pebbles, you’ll need to pass the ticket booths and head to the Fun Zone (real place) because the L.A. County Fair is back with fried abominations, baby.
This year’s fair kicks off on Friday in Pomona and runs through September 22 with a slew of doughy, crunchy, piled-high fair classics so unholy we might need an old priest and a young priest. Last year’s Route 66-themed, $6.60 menu went off like fireworks, so the fair is launching an even cheaper menu in 2019—which means you can save your spare change for the midway games. (You’re going to need it. Someday you’ll win that giant bear.) In keeping with this year’s pop-art theme is the Pop Menu, with participating vendors displaying a little pop-art sign so you know you can find at least one $6.50 item there. And, just like the art movement, these $6.50 items are colorful.
This year you’ll find more than 50 dishes on the special menu in addition to the regular fair fare on offer, and many even include a 16-ounce drink for the price. Pink’s Hot Dogs is in the mix, as is Dole Whip. There are fair classics, the requisite deep-fried terrors for your arteries, Mexican- and Southwestern-inspired eats, and, of course, some new spins on midway food to keep fair devotees coming back for more.
It wouldn’t be a county fair without funnel cake—here served for $6.50 with cinnamon or topped with vanilla ice cream—and it sure as hell wouldn’t be the same without BBQ pork parfaits layering mashed potatoes, roast pork and BBQ sauce up to the top of a sundae cup. Thankfully the Pop Menu knows this, just like it knows deep-fried pecan pie, gourmet caramel apples, root beer floats, ribbon fries, corn on the cob are must-haves. It’s got most of the essentials at value price, and it’s even branching out into Instagram-trap territory (see: the Dog House, who’ll be serving a gooey rainbow grilled cheese at $6.50, too).
There’ll be esquites, Tajin-dusted Dole Whip, deep-fried pineapples, Tex-Mex spicy pork tacos, hatch-chile carne fries, fry-bread tacos, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, Pop Rocks doughnuts and even a garden salad (LOL, who are they kidding).
Going the route of foods less traveled, a handful of vendors are flipping the script on stuff-yourself stalwarts: Juicy’s Outlaw Burger is turning the age-old traditional turkey legs into tacos (and you’ll get two of them for $6.50), while Timbo’s is bringing back its chocolate-dipped beef jerky. The O.G. Hot Dog on a Stick will be on hand offering veggie-dog options, and in lieu of meat, Pizmo’s Chowder House will swap the meaty impaled legend for fried fish on a stick.
And, of course, if you’re looking for something familiar, a few L.A. institutions will be doling out their eats for a fraction of the regular fair prices. Pink’s is serving a quarter-pound hot dog, Afters Ice Cream will be scooping onto classic waffle cones, and, of course, you can expect the iconic Dole Whip to serve, well, the iconic dole whip. Looking to plan your attack? You can find the full Pop menu here.
The L.A. County Fair runs August 30 to September 22 and is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, with the exception of Labor Day, September 2. Find the fairgrounds at 1101 W McKinley Ave in Pomona.