A summer ritual returns with the release by the State Fair of Texas of the list of concessionaire semifinalists for their Annual Big Tex Choice Awards.
This year, the stakes were raised with a third category joining the award lineup: Three winners will be crowned in the 2017 Big Tex Choice Awards ceremony, receiving awards for Best Taste – Sweet, Best Taste – Savory, and Most Creative.
The creativity runs high with these semifinalists, whether it's a concoction called Oreo Beer or the sure-to-win Deep Fried Froot Loops.
The full list of 2017 Big Tex Choice Awards semifinalists include:
Beer Battered Beef Jerky
Fried Redneck Wedding Cake Balls
Cajun Fried Deviled Eggs
Fried Sloppy Joe Flautas with 'Not Cho' Fries
Fried Texas Dirt
Deep Fried Bacon Wrapped Mozzarella with Jalapeno Ranch
Fried Texas Sheet Cake
Deep Fried Breakfast Cupcake
Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger
Deep Fried Chicken Noodle Soup on a Stick
Gulf Coast Fish Bowl
Deep Fried Froot Loops
Deep Fried Reuben
Pinot Noir Popcorn
Deep Fried Root Beer Float with Dragon's Breath
Ramen Grasshopper Cookie
Dreamy Drunken Sopapilla Cheesecake Bar
Southern Fried Chicken Monte Cristo
Fried Arroz Con Pollo
Texas Fajita Fries
Fried Cheesecake Stuffed Apple Sundae
Texas Fried Cowboy Fritters
Fried El Paso
The Tamale Donut
Fried Mango Loco
Tipsy Topsy Catfish on a Stick
The contest kicked off in mid-July with a 47 total entries. All competitors must have at least one year of experience as a concessionaire at the Fair to enter the competition.
The selection process used in the annual competition involves a panel of judges and requires blind judging from start to finish, IE the panel does not know which concessionaire is behind each recipe.
The first round of preliminary judging relies on food name and description only. Contestants put their concessionaire creativity to the test by coming up with an enticing name and description for their concoctions. 30 snacks reigned superior over the rest to continue to the next round.
Over the next several weeks, the second round of preliminary judging will begin and these edible creations will have to prove to the panel of judges that they are just as delicious as they sound. The tasting round consists of judging each semi-finalist on, at minimum, four main ingredients of a finalist-worthy concoction: uniqueness, presentation, creativity and taste. The judges also have to factor in how likely a fairgoer is to actually buy the item.
This year, the contest has increased the number of finalists from 8 entries to 10, who will compete in the final round. If competitors don't win, they can still introduce their food at their stand as a new food during this year’s State Fair.
The 13th Annual Big Tex® Choice Awards, presented by Visit Dallas take place on Sunday, August 27 at 2 pm in the historic Tower Building at Fair Park. Tickets will be available online at BigTex.com for $100, with a limited amount of seats available. The 10 finalists will go up against a panel of celebrity judges in hopes of snagging one of most coveted titles in Fair food.
The 2017 fair runs September 29-October 22 in Fair Park.