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    LA County Fair 2024: 12 outrageous foods to tempt, or test, your taste buds
    • May 4, 2024

    Pucker up, LA County Fair visitors. Food vendors are getting creative with dill pickles this year.

    Dominic Palmieri, who oversees several food stands and is known as the Midway Gourmet, said he started to experiment with them about three years ago and is seeing customer interest grow.

    “We’re seeing a lot of pickle stuff on social media,” he said. “Sometimes we feel like we’re ahead of the trends, because we have a lot of exposure when we’re at a fair. We’ll see things start to happen and say that looks good, but we can make it better.”

    The result is the dill pickle split — like a banana split but with a pickle instead of a banana — one of the wild and wacky foods you’ll find at the Fairplex in Pomona during the fair’s opening weekend. You’ll also find hot honey and mores spicy sweets.

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    Most specialty items run $10-$20 throughout the fair, but  all concessions will have fixed-price value items on their menus for $9.50.

    Here are a few items you’ll find at the fair that you’re unlikely to find elsewhere, at least in one place.

    Dill pickle split

    What: A dill pickle is split down the middle and topped with three swirls of pineapple whip and strings of sour spaghetti candy with a chamoy stick and umbrella toothpick for good measure. It looks surprisingly like a banana split but the best way to eat it is to eat the pickle with your fingers, dipping it in the whip.

    Find it: Pineapple Whip stand in the Fun Zone.

    Ramen Taco’s Kung Pao beef, slaw and red onions in a ramen shell is showcased at The LA County Fair preview event for their upcoming food offerings on Wednesday, May 1, 2024. (Photo by Anjali Sharif-Paul, The Sun/SCNG)

    Terri’s Berries’ Thummer Apple is named after the LA County Fair’s mascot pig. (Photo by Anjali Sharif-Paul, The Sun/SCNG)

    Pretzel Bombs from Dough Spot featurr a choice of pulled pork, chicken, or carne asada filling, are showcased at the LA County Fair. (Photo by Anjali Sharif-Paul, The Sun/SCNG)

    Charlie Boghosian of Chicken Charlie’s, hold out his hot honey funnel cake chicken sandwich. and funnel cake sandwich, during an LA County Fair preview on Wednesday, May 1, 2024. The fair is set to open its doors on May 3rd, 2024. (Photo by Anjali Sharif-Paul, The Sun/SCNG)

    Hot honey drips onto a fried chicken and funnel cake sandwich, crafted by Charlie Boghosian of Chicken Charlie’s. (Photo by Anjali Sharif-Paul, The Sun/SCNG)

    This dill pickle split is available at the Pineapple Whip stand at the LA County Fair, Saturday, May 4, 2024. (Photo by Fielding Buck, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

    Big Sticks loaded with pork grill at Bubba’s Pork Belly Tacos at the LA County Fair, Saturday, May 4, 2024. (Photo by Fielding Buck, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

    The Get Fried stand at the LA County Fair is selling a doughnut chicken sandwich, Saturday May 4, 2024. (Photo by Fielding Buck, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

    Dominic Palmieri shows off Nashville Chicken Tots, served at his Biggy’s stand at the LA County Fair, Saturday, May 4, 2024. (Photo by Fielding Buck, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)




    Candied Pickle and Candied watermelon slice

    What: Palmeri continues with the pickle theme with a giant pickle that’s cored out and stuffed with sour spaghetti candy, wrapped in a fruit roll-up and dusted with Tajin seasoning and Chamoy Sauce. The watermelon slice is also wrapped in fruit rolls and seasoned with Tajin.

    Find it: Cowboy Kettle Corn, Downtown Fairplex

    Hot honey funnel cake chicken sandwich

    What: Charlie Boghosian, the force behind the Chicken Charlie’s stands, has been blowing fairgoers’ minds since be came up with deep-fried Oreos in the late ’90s.

    This year’s creation, fried chicken between funnel cake, is a collision of flavors.

    “The funnel cake complements the chicken, because you have sweet and savory. And now we’re throwing in a little sweet and spicy,” he said at a preview on Wednesday while he drizzled hot honey over the sandwich.

    “It’s not spicy like you’re going to cry, it’s spicy like it’s good,” he added.

    His stands are also bringing back hits from years past, including 2022’s Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Potstickers and bacon-wrapped pickles.

    Find it: Chicken Charlie’s, across from the Grandstand and a giant inflatable Baby Yoda, and Clock Tower Plaza, Broadway and Palm.

    Peaches and Cream Funnel Cake

    What: This is a more traditional way to experience funnel cake, topped with peaches and whipped cream that’s dusted with sugar and cinnamon.

    Find it: Dutchman Funnel Cakes, Fun Zone.

    Nashville Chicken Tots

    What: Palmieri’s big debut at his Biggy’s stand this year features fried chicken on a bed of buttery garlic tater tots with dill pickle slices for good measure.

    Find it: Biggy’s, Fun Zone.

    Pretzel Bombs

    What: These snacks feature a substantial amount of meat baked into pretzel dough. The result is a dark brown orb that looks a little like a miniature Civil War cannon ball. Choices include pulled pork, chicken, and beef.

    Find it: Dough Spot, Downtown Fairplex neighborhood.

    Ramen Taco

    What: Kung Pao beef, slaw and red onions fill a ramen shell.

    Find it: Building 4, Downtown Fairplex.

    Thummer Candied Apple

    What: This sweet treat is a Granny Smith apple decorated to resemble Thummer, a hitchhiking pig that has been the fair’s mascot since 1948. Thummer has a marshmallow nose and gumdrop ears.

    Find it: Terri’s Berries, Clock Tower Plaza.

    Doughnut chicken sandwich

    What: Double-dredge chicken served between two hot doughnuts made on the premises with warm icing. You’ll want to bring moist towelettes for this one.

    Find it: Get Fried, Fun Zone.

    Big Stick and pork belly tacos

    What: A 30-inch skewer is filled with pork sausage links, chunks of pork belly and a bread roll for good measure. The street tacos are more conventional but loaded with meat that’s smoked for two hours and topped with salsa verde, onion and cilantro.

    Find it: Bubba’s Pork Belly Tacos, Downtown Fairplex.

    LA County Fair

    Where: Fairplex, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona.

    When: May 3-27

    Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, plus Memorial Day, May 27.

    Tickets: $15-$25 for adults; $10-$12 for children 6-12 years and seniors 60-plus in advance. Tickets at the gate are $30, $15 for children and seniors. Parking is $22 online, $25 at the gate. RV parking is $40.

    Payment: Parking, admission and concert box office payments are cashless. Advance online purchases are cheaper than gate prices.



    ​ Orange County Register