It’s that time of year again! State Fair concessionaires are off to the races with a new lineup of incredible, edible innovations for the public to taste. The 14th Annual Big Tex® Choice Awards, presented by Vistaprint, is sure to offer a bite that pleases every appetite. From savory snacks to sweet treats, 2018’s assortment will not disappoint! After much deliberation in the first round of judging, the scores have been tallied and the results are in; 31 semi-finalists have been named and are one step closer to the main event, where they will compete for one of three winning titles. “Best Taste – Sweet,” “Best Taste – Savory,” and “Most Creative.”
2018 BIG TEX CHOICE AWARDS SEMI-FINALISTS
|Corn Dog Ale||Bacon Brittle|
|Deep Fried Bodacious Bacon Bombs||Cherish Erbert Champagne|
|Deep Fried Chicken Tetrazzini Parmesana||Cotton Candy Taco|
|Deep Fried Lobster Pops||Deep Fried M&M's®|
|Deep Fried Ranch||Deep Fried Raspberry Brie-ret|
|Deep Fried Shepherd's Pie||Frosty's Frozen Hot Chocolate|
|Deep Fried Skillet Potato Melt in a Boat||Fruity Dessert Nachos|
|Fried Cup of Corn "Elotes"||Kool-Aid® Pickle-Dilly Sangria|
|Fried Kool-Aid® Pickles||Orange Julia's Beermosa|
|Hoppin' John Cake with Jackpot Sauce||Orange You Glad We Fried It?!|
|King Crispy Coconut Crab Sliders||State Fair Fun-L Cake Ice Cream|
|Pico Frito (Deep Fried Pico de Gallo)||Supra Stuffed Mini Sopapillas|
|Southern Fried Chicken Nachos||Sweet Bakin' Bacon|
|Texas Fried Hill Country||Sweet Crispy Rice (Arroz con Leche)|
|Texas Twang-kie||Texas Thai Delight|
|The Roll Tide|
The contest kicked off in mid-July with an impressive 49 entries represented by 30 concessionaires. It is required that all competitors have at least one year of experience as a concessionaire at the State Fair of Texas to enter the competition. With food as a popular attraction of the Fair each year, these contenders are more than just successful food aficionados; they have proven themselves to be authentic representations of the dedication and passion brought each year to the Big Tex Choice Awards.
The unique selection process used in the annual competition is headed up by a panel of internal judges and requires “blind judging” from start to finish, meaning the panel does not know which concessionaire is behind each recipe. This allows for the scoring to be totally based on the food entry itself and leaves no room for bias toward or against concessionaires, since their identities are not revealed to the panel. Contestants put their creativity to the test by coming up with an enticing name and description for their original concoctions, along with the option to submit a photo of their entry – then comes the first round of preliminary judging. Faced with a solid list of tempting treats, the judges base their choices solely on which food name and description sounds the most appealing to their personal palette, just like a fairgoer might do while at the Fair.
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, of course, taste. The judges will also have to defend their rankings against the seemingly simple yet crucial question – how likely is a fairgoer to actually buy the item? By mid-August, anticipation will be at an ultimate high when the Fair-food finalists are announced! The top 10 entries will compete in the final round. Even if your cuisine of choice doesn’t make it to the main event, concessionaires can still choose to introduce their food at their stand as a “new food” during this year’s State Fair.
With less than one month left until the doors swing open for the 14th Annual Big Tex Choice Awards, presented by Vistaprint, be sure to mark your calendars for Sunday, August 26 at 2 p.m. in the historic Tower Building at Fair Park. Last year’s event sold out, so don’t wait to secure your spot. Tickets will be available online at BigTex.com for $125, with a limited number of seats available. All proceeds from the annual Big Tex Choice Awards competition are donated to the State Fair of Texas Scholarship Program. Be one of the first to taste this year’s new foods, as the 10 finalists go up against a panel of celebrity judges in hopes of snagging one of most coveted titles in Fair food.