State Fair

state fair

V.28 No.37 | 9/12/2019

Food 101

Oh My Fair Love, Where Hast Thou Gone

Bringing you the tastiest finds at the fair

Dan Pennington jumps into the food of the State Fair to find a good mix of old favorites and new takes on classics.
V.25 No.37 | 9/15/2016

Food News

Green Chile Cheeseburger Winner Announced

Laguna Burger wins best green chile cheeseburger, Skarsgard Farms delivers, Zio’s is closing, no one cares about Black Olives Matter, El Paisa is the best and a professor gives drinking advice.
V.24 No.38 | 09/17/2015


505 Circles of Hell

Circle One: The State Fair

It’s that time of year again: Traffic! Heat! Obligatory family time! Oh, and the cost! You know what I’m talking about, the New Mexico State Fair.

The idea is great; a day with the family celebrating New Mexican culture. Once you act on it, though, you realize the grievous error you’ve inflicted on yourself and those you choose to go with.

The traffic that surrounds the area for blocks creates a vehicular circle of hell. You could use ABQ Ride, but this is Albuquerque! We drive everywhere, under all conditions. Unless you pay for parking (to add to the increasing debt you’ll owe to a fast cash loan service to afford this trip) you have to fight for a too-small parking spot that takes nearly 20 minutes to find after a 30 minute wait in traffic. I can’t imagine how the folks who live in the surrounding area deal with the animosity of these drivers.

After an hour or so once you’re on the Fair Grounds, you get a New Mexican sweat; the sweat that pours from every crevice on your body. Theoretically this cools the body, but personally, it just makes me damp and irritated. Add this to forced family time and you’ll see the result: red-faced parents, screaming kids, uninterested teens and the slowing elderly.

The Fair is also incredibly expensive for most families. The parking is $10 (and $20? Can you be more specific, New Mexico State Fair Facebook page?), entry is another $10 if you’re 12-64, $7 if you’re 6-11 or 65 and older, and free for kiddos 5 and under.

So already, for an average family of four, this is around $40 without preferred parking. Plus paying for food and tickets for rides, you're looking at at least just under $100 and that’s not even counting the total cost of gas, either.

In addition to all of this I hate long lines, line-cutters, the idea of the baby animals being required to sit in the same spot all day so screaming families can view them for two minutes (once I did see some llamas chasing a baby giraffe, or was that a dream?), the creepy carnies, creepy dudes in general, running into people I haven’t seen since high school, and the amount of smoke from the meat food places.

But I’m pretty excited for Balloon Fiesta.

V.23 No.38 | 9/18/2014


The Daily Word in robots, rats and rockstars.

The Daily Word

Kanye West stopped his concert because a fan in a wheelchair wouldn’t stand up.

Country crooner Lynn Anderson was arrested after a drunken car smash.

Courtney Love rocks the guitar lamely.

A Samsung robot sentry shoots everyone, period.

Quadrupedal robots frolic gracefully to the tune of a new cheetah algorithm.

An Albuquerque pumpkin heist will likely scar toddlers’ psyches.

A virtual Boobie Squeezing Simulator makes girlfriends obsolete.

Scottish independence might be an actual thing.

A sleeping Brooklyn toddler survived a savage rat attack.

Switzerland will take Snowden.

A gravedigger photographed himself with the exhumed remains of his long deceased nephew.

The Bernalilllo County Commission will take legal action against the Secretary of State to ensure key issues (including decriminalization of marijuana possession) will be on the ballot in this November’s election.

It’s State Fair time.

Jose Nino’s baby won’t go to sleep.

Let the shooting competition begin.

What’s happening in Albuquerque today?

Happy birthday, Tom Hardy.

Today’s Daily Word was made possible with generous link-cullling assistance from Constance Moss, Geoffrey Plant, Janet Miller, Lisa Barrow, Kyle Silfer and Susan Petersen. Thanks, you guys!

V.22 No.37 |


The Daily Word in ferret bans, molasses spills and coal slides

The Daily Word

Admission to the State Fair is free for everyone today! Go eat something fried!

Two days after the Navy Yard shootings, the usual idiots are saying the usual idiotic things. Things like "False flag," "crisis actors," "Obama," and "conspiracy."

A muddy coal slide, or perhaps a coal-y mud slide, slopped its way through Madrid, NM on Sunday night.

But it's water that's resumed flowing for residents of Jal, NM.

A Tennessee judge has ruled that it's okay to name your baby "Messiah." Just in case you want your kid to have that particular reason to hate you for the rest of their life.

A pipeline pumping molasses from Hawaii to California, which is totally a real thing, ruptured last week, spilling 233,000 gallons of the delicious-but-fish-killing substance into the ocean.

And, as of yesterday, you may no longer bring ferrets into Arizona restaurants. Miniature horses are still cool, though.

V.22 No.36 |


The Daily Word in Syrian stalling, Putin the house elf and Captain America in a turban

The Daily Word

Twelve years ago, a horrific act of terrorism changed our country forever. Which makes it kind of weird that some people say "Happy 9/11 day."

To celebrate 9/11, the President called for a "time-out" on consideration of a military strike on Syria. Let the chemical weapons takers do their jobs!

But McCain is not impressed.

It's State Fair time! Too bad it's raining.

New York voters have bad news for Carlos Danger and Client #9. I mean, Anthony Weiner and Elliot Spitzer.

And Colorado voters have bad news for gun-control supporting Democrats.

Bullies rule the roost at one of Albuquerque's public housing complexes. Their reign of terror is solidified by chasing people through the halls in their wheelchairs and throwing urine onto doors of their enemies.

Putin is ready to sue because the most annoying character in the Harry Potter movies looks too much like the most annoying character in Russia.

And finally, Captain America wears a turban.

V.21 No.39 | 9/27/2012

The Mouthful

Best of the Worst of the Fair

Flavors that linger

A crack team of iron-stomached eating enthusiasts spend a Sunday night scouring the State Fair booths for the most grotesque and oddball foodstuffs they can find.
V.21 No.38 | 9/20/2012


The Daily Word in bacon shortages, salsa contests, zombees and castration.

The Daily Word

Here’s a man made 300 obscene phone calls.

Castration makes men live longer.

Hey, a car flipped over.

How to read body language, they claim.

The bacon shortage is coming.

Puppy cam. If anyone cares.

There’s a snake with heads on both ends. I am a snake head eating the head on the opposite side.

Make yourself a sad little song in Bb.

Dawn of the Zombees.

Ritz Crackers are #1.

Here's the latest bigfoot photo, such as it is.

A Monster House blocks out the sun.

Matt Erdman thinks the State Fair’s salsa contest was rigged.

Happy birthday Mark Hamill.


The Daily Word in minimum wage, cardboard bikes and Bob Dylan

The Daily Word

State Supreme Court orders minimum wage increase back on the November ballot.

There’s a zip line at the Fair this year—and tigers.

Way to go, N.M. organ donors!

Santa Fe’s politicians call for a meeting with Zozobra organizers, saying the event should be more family-friendly.

Slinky blows physics’ mind.

The man who made the anti-Islam film causing violent protests throughout the Middle East is a 55-year-old former criminal and Coptic Christian in California, according to the Associated Press.

Protesters storm the U.S. Embassy in Yemen.

An actor from that anti-Islam film says she had no idea they were staring in a propaganda flick.

Meet the $9 recycled cardboard bike that can support a 485-pound rider.

Monica Lewinsky is writing a book, maybe.

Santa Muerte.

Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff,” says Bob Dylan in response to accusations that he’s plagiarized some of his material.

How to: Turn your wall into a projector screen for $50.

31 rad DIY projects.

The first 1,000 digits of Pi skywritten over San Francisco.

Hobby Lobby doesn’t want the Affordable Care Act to make it cover birth control for employees.

V.21 No.36 |


The Daily Word in Lybian extremists, teachers' strike, Jason Sudeikis returns

The Daily Word

The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other American diplomats have been killed by suspected religious extremists in Lybia.

Factory fires kill at least 314 people in Pakistan.

Chicago Teachers Union strike most likely won't be resolved today.

APD Police Chief gives his program a stand-up 94% on their report card.

Apple slips up.

Notre Dame is headed to the ACC in all sports except for football.

The State Fair starts today at 2 p.m. By the way, parking this year is free ... if you can find it.

McDonald's will soon start including calorie counts on their menus ... dang it, I hate guilt.

Apparently NBC feels that Kris Jenner's boobs are more important than a 9/11 moment of silence.

Jason Sudeikis is returning to SNL!

Hard core, back-in-the-day, super legit snowball fight.

V.20 No.42 |


The Daily Word in Gaddafi, tattoo Barbie and electronic whips

The Daily Word

Gaddafi is dead.

Was the Elephant Butte killer really a killer?

New Mexico is considering opening a "foreigners only" DMV in Albuquerque.

Maybe the Declaration of Independence was illegal.

The State Fair is insolvent.

Tattoo Barbie.

Who runs the world?

In Alabama, "Mexican" is a dirty word.

Authorities capture or kill all the animals freed from a preserve in Ohio—except for one monkey.

Disneyland big brothers hotel workers with a system employees call the "electronic whip."

Archeologists unearth a street from the 1600s in Santa Fe.

We are using a lot of antidepressants.

The new Cranberries single—their first in a decade—is not so great.

The real Sybil says the multiple personalities weren't real.

V.20 No.36 |


The Daily Word in global stocks, moon research, and iconic sweaters.

The Daily Word

Global stock market drops alongside the value of the euro as debt fears rise.

Oh goodie, police bust pimps and prostitutes at the New Mexico State Fair.

Dutch woman charged with stalking after calling her ex-boyfriend 65,000 times.

Who wore it better? Dick Cheney or The Penguin?

Redflex is paying big bucks for campaign to sway Albuquerque voters on red light camera initiative.

Suspicious 9/11 bathroom behavior.

Nicolas Cage is totally a time traveler!

NASA launches newest moon research mission.

Longshore union worker assaults local news crew with his dirty mouth.

Buzz in real life.

Shirley the smoking orangutan quits cold turkey.

I want one of these magic chairs for Christmas.

Who is Pablo Fanques, Tom?

Rhinos may soon become the newest agents of chemical warfare.

Iconic sweaters.

The life and death of Borders.

6 industries that are clearly catering to supervillains.

Cliff Robertson dies at 88.

V.19 No.38 | 9/23/2010
(from l to r) Stacy and Mark Delk; Caren Cowan, New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association, who presented the award; and Diane and Joe Delk.

This Just In

Congratulations to the Delks: 2010 State Fair Ranch Family of the Year!

We’d also like to congratulate the Vigils: the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s 2010 Farm Family of the Year. They own Nambe Orchards.


I just took in 200,000 calories at the fair—a novella

I joked with Alibi reviewer Ari LeVaux once that I don't know how he comes up with so many words about food each week. If you ask me to evaluate a restaurant, I will probably mention three criteria, the only benchmarks by which I evaluate the edible.

-Cheap or expensive
-Spicy or not spicy
-Soggy or crispy (This last one is optional, but when it matters, it matters a lot.)

Still, I'm going to try my hand at describing in lurid detail my favorite genre of all cuisine—State Fair fare.

When I enter the grounds, I'm on a mission. I need to get to that Casa de Fruta stand, and I need to order a chile relleno dog. This is such a longstanding tradition for me, that though I've tried to eat mostly vegan this year, I buy this cheese and meat speared by a skinny popsicle stick anyway. It's a heat gamble. Some C.R. dogs clear out my sinuses, and some I would feed to an infant, if that infant were good about not killing itself with popsicle sticks.

2010's annual fair fav is medium hot, with just the right amount of melted cheese inside and a plump dog in the middle. All of this is encased in deep-fried corn batter, which is crispy and a little nutty. You would expect heavy grease, but it's actually not so bad. I could eat 10 more, but I'm a lady.

As soon as I'm done with my chile relleno dog, I can turn right back around and leave the damn fair; that seems a waste of a multi-dollar parking fee. But truly, this is the fair's masterwork. It's perfect. I'm glad I don't know where they sell the chile relleno dog in town. Though childless, I'd be the brunt of the next decade's yo mama jokes.

I move on to experience various flavors of physics, my own personal self strapped into life-threatening machines by distracted, sunburned carneys.

Fear works up an appetite, so I go in for another round. Today is the great green chile cheeseburger contest (champion: ABQ Brew Pub), so I have ground beef on the brain. I make a mistake though, my friends—I buy my hamburger from a midway stand. The crinkled patty is about half the size of the bread, a small, dark circle in a large droopy bun the color of sateen coffin-liner. These cooks must have studied with the same kitchen legends who created APS' salisbury steak.

But I eat it because it cost $7. No amount of ketchup will save this thing. Have you ever noticed that the foods with the most brilliant color are used to salvage the foods with no color?

I am super bummed. My midway error, more than digging a black hole into my wallet, also means I have less body space for real fair grub.

I try three flavors of aguas frescas. Judging the relative fullness of the serving jugs, it would appear that most consumers foolishly avoid my favorites. Nevermind your sweet tea and lemonade. You've got to go for the cantaloup and pineapple juices, and horchata. The cantaloup is the clear victor, a mellow, semi-sweet tone that hits you just right. The homespun horchata is nothing to sneeze at, silky and rich. And the pineapple juice ... just ... damn. Tangy, not too acidic, and it tastes like a slice of pineapple cut fresh. No artificial whatever. Beautiful gold color, too.

Make sure you ask the aquas frescas stand for their smaller $3 version if you don't want to pay $5 for a plastic take-home cup with a bendy straw. It's not advertised, but it's there.

I make my way to the Moriarty sweet corn booth. Roasted corn is gorgeous, and with a little parmesan and garlic powder and seasoning salt, forget it. Watch out with that seasoning salt though. It looks all orange, like a spice you can use a lot of, but it is damn salty. (I may have just made all the people who cook on a regular basis chuckle. Some of us primarily consume food that's birthed by a microwave. You skilled snobs, you. Now make me an egg.)

Since I'm in the neighborhood, I polish the night off with a red chile brisket burrito, adding in sour cream. The fantastic service and well-cooked eats don't make up for the fact that this is sloppy Joe's first cousin. It's harsh to make judgments based on family. But the resemblance, well ...

Since I can't afford to eat until next week after spending literally tens of dollars at the fair, I'm going on a fast, after which I will resume my veganity. And I'm going to take up ultra-marathoning. And I'm going to be a better person generally.