OC Fair food is crazier, more inventive than ever

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It is a once-a-year experience, something that can only happen at the Fair—a food frenzy beyond compare. The midway magicians in mini kitchens are cooking up inventions like donut-shaped spaghetti, caramel-drizzled fries and floats made for mermaids.

Last year 51% of attendees surveyed said the only-at-the-Fair food was their favorite part of their visit and the chefs have been working to move the needle even higher. All this and more will be served up to fairgoers when the OC Fair opens July 13 and runs through Aug. 12.

A sampling of new food items for 2018

-Peanut butter, jelly and Sriracha funnel cake—Dutchmen’s Funnel Cakes

-Deep-fried cheese curds, mac & cheese bites, shrimp & cheese jammers and more—new stand: Who Fried the Cheese?

-Deep-fried filet mignon on a stick—Chicken Charlie’s

-Spaghetti donut formed with pasta and topped with pesto, alfredo, carbonara or marinara—Pignotti’s

-The OC Crunch Cinnamon Roll featuring caramel, cinnamon crunch cereal and frosting—D&D Country Fair Cinnamon Buns

-Lasagna nachos with pasta chips and pesto, veggies, cheese, marinara and meats—Pignotti’s

-Pine and Swine sourdough bread with butter, garlic, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, pineapple and ham—Ten Pound Buns

-Caramel Crack Fries featuring French fries tossed in butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, then drizzled with salted caramel sauce and topped with whipping cream and sprinkles—Biggy’s

-Chili chamoy candy apple coated with sweet and spicy chili and tamarind flavors—Brander’s Candyland

-Unicorn cotton candy donut with sparkling strawberry glitter glaze, rainbow candy, bubble gum cotton candy—Texas Donuts

-Boba comes to the Fair and flavors include passionfruit, Thai, oolong, mango, jasmine and lychee—new stand: Holy Cao’s Boba Tea

-Shrimp/chicken ramen burritos, deep fried pineapple on a stick—Chicken Charlie’s

-Unicorn, orange dream and mermaid floats featuring cotton candy and rainbow toppings—Candy Factory

-Big Skillet cookie, an oversized chocolate chip cookie topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup—Totally Baked Cookie Joint

-Toppings bar for cinnamon buns including cherry pie filling, Mini M&M’s, salted caramel and maple bacon frosting—JP’s Old West Cinnamon Rolls

-Poke and sushi bowls, orange chicken burritos—Eddie’s Asian-Inspired Cuisine

Returning favorites

BBQ chicken, grilled corn, tri-tip burgers, hot dogs, tacos, turkey legs, Hawaiian chicken bowls, grilled vegetables, corn dogs, ice cream shaved ice, smoothies, shakes, fruit bowls, waffles, crepes, flavored lemonade and more.

Vendors include: Pink’s Hot Dogs, Biggy’s, Juicy’s, Noel’s Mexican, Corn Star, Apollo’s Greek, Carmelot, Pepe’s Mariscos, Crutchee’s Ice Cream, Enzo’s Pizza, Fresh Frys, Fried Affair, Hussong’s Cantina, Hot Dog on a Stick, Planet Popcorn, Mucho Crazy Nachos, Mustards Cafe, Old West Cinnamon Rolls, Texas Donuts, Vinny’s Pizza and more.

$3 Taste of Fair Food

Get a sampling of food and treats for only $3 each Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. Fun-sized samples include funnel cake, tri-tip, lemonade, cinnamon rolls, tacos, gelato, cotton candy and more.

The 2018 OC Fair is July 13-Aug. 12 and offers 23 days and nights of entertainment, food, rides, shopping, exhibits and more. Hours are noon to midnight Wednesdays through Fridays, and 11 a.m. to midnight Saturdays and Sundays. OC Fair is located off the 405 and 55 freeways at 88 Fair Dr. in Costa Mesa. For more information, visit ocfair.com or call 714-708-1500.

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