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State Fair Announces Cotton Candy Tacos as One of This Year’s Absurd Big Tex Awards Finalists

Also among this year’s finalists: deep-fried hoppin’ john

The cotton candy taco
State Fair of Texas [Official Photo]
Amy McCarthy is a staff writer at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

The State Fair of Texas is rapidly approaching, and the annual fried food bonanza has announced that cotton candy tacos and deep-fried arroz con leche are among this year’s Big Tex Choice Awards finalists.

The two sweet offerings are among 10 finalists for the coveted award, which will be presented later this month. The list has already been whittled down from a long list of semi-finalists, which included deep-fried elotes and corn dog beer. Three winners will be chosen — the best savory and sweet options, and a winner for “most creative.” Scope out the full list of this year’s State Fair food finalists below:

  • Arroz Con Leche — Rice that’s spiced with cinnamon, battered, and crusted in crispy rice cereal before being deep-fried and served with ice cream.
  • Cotton Candy Taco — Disappointingly, this taco does not involve a melty cotton candy shell. Instead, it’s organic cotton candy stuffed into a taco-shaped waffle with toasted marshmallows and chocolate.
  • Texas Twang-kie — A savory riff on the classic dessert that involves a hollowed out cornbread cake that’s stuffed with white bean chili and served with cornbread fries and even more chili on the side.
  • Orange You Glad We Fried It?! — Orange chiffon cake and jam are blended together, then tucked into puff pastry dough before hitting the fryer.
  • Deep Fried Skillet Potato Melt — Breakfast sausage and potato wrapped around a Babybel “cheese loaf,” then fried and served with sour cream chipotle sauce.
  • Texas Fried Hill Country — Mozzarella, locally-grown basil, and tomatoes breaded in seasoned bread crumbs and flash-fried, then served with field greens, balsamic drizzle, and Texas honey.
  • Sweet Bakin’ Bacon — bacon wrapped around a “cream-filled sponge cake” (a.k.a. Twinkie) and dipped in funnel cake batter.
  • Fernie’s Hoppin’ John Cake with Jackpot Sauce — A savory cake made of black-eyed peas, rice, smoked sausage, and spices. It’s topped with fresh hoppin’ john, then paired with “jackpot sauce.”
  • State Fair Fun-L Cake Ice Cream — Ice cream spiked with the “essence and flavor” of funnel cake, then studded with actual chunks of funnel cake from Howdy Homemade owner Tom Landis.

The Big Tex Choice Awards will be held on Sunday, August 26, providing serious state fair enthusiasts an opportunity to get their hands on these ridiculous dishes before the State Fair of Texas officially kicks off on September 28.