*Disclaimer: First Baptist Church is not affiliated with, nor does it necessarily endorse any of the restaurants that are discussed in these posts. These are just the personal opinions of the blog writer and are meant only for information and fun.
I know. By the time that you’re reading this, the SC State Fair has already passed for the year and I’m moving into a season of cleansing from all of the delicious junk that I’ve consumed. See this as a State Fair food recap, or bookmark it as a guide for next year. I’ve been going to the fair since I was just a little girl. Several of the stands have been there for that long at least. This year I had the good fortune of attending several times for various reasons. The first being our promo shoot for the Fall Festival, which will be taking place Sunday, October 30. Super huge thank you to FBC member Dan Douglas for setting us up really well with the Fair so we could do that. In the promo, we featured the type of foods that we’re going to have at our Fall Festival, corn dogs, pizza, popcorn, and cotton candy. Of those items, the only one that I typically get when I’m at the fair is the corn dog. This leads me to my 3 must haves at the fair each year and which stand to visit to obtain them because it totally matters.
1) The Bailey’s Pronto Pup. In my opinion, these are the best corn dogs at the fair. It always has to be from the Bailey’s stand. They dip them right there on the spot in their homemade batter and fry them right before you’re about to eat them. Some stands fry them ahead of time and you watch them sit around for a while. That has never been my experience at Bailey’s. They’re always scalding hot and delicious. You can get the regular (small) size or the long one, which is about double the size of the regular. I usually go with the regular since I like to try several different foods.
2) Fried Mushrooms from the stand with the green awning and the big mushroom sign. I don’t actually know the name of the stand. I just know that it has been in the same place and has had a green awning since I was a child. Now they also have a big mushroom to help you identify it. These are THE BEST! You get them piping hot with a side of ranch dressing. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top and there’s not much better. You have to go to the green awning stand though. All of the others pale in comparison.
3) Lordy’s Elephant Ear. There are plenty of places to get fried dough at the fair. This one just happens to be the best. There are funnel cake stands and there are other elephant ears, but the big red Lordy’s stand does it best. Again, you’re going to get a fresh elephant ear, not one that has been sitting out. There is often a long line. There’s a reason for that. They’re AWESOME. The basic one comes with butter and your choice of powdered sugar or cinnamon and sugar. I typically go with the powdered sugar, but won’t complain about either. There are also fruit toppings, chocolate, custard, and other options that you can add, but I don’t even go there. I’m a purist. Why ruin a good thing?
What else did I eat?
There was the new steak sundae that enticed me while I was supposed to be hiding from the college students during the FCM Manhunt at the Fair. Two teams discovered me while I fell out of character (I was incognito) to take pictures of this glorious concoction. A bed of fries with cheese, sour cream, and bacon topped off with sirloin tips. The steak was actually tender (you never know with these places). I ate it all. No shame.
Chicken & Waffles. Aaron and I met our friend Danny for lunch at the Fair, and they got chicken & waffles. I decided on another night to give them a go since they looked so good. The breading was good and the chicken was freshly fried and hot. I like the combo of chicken and waffles, but the waffles were a little undercooked or gummy. Still, I ate it because it was tasty, not ideal, but tasty. Syrup fixes everything.
After eating with Aaron and Danny, I wanted something sweet. They did too. So, I sprung for a fried dessert combo of Red Velvet Fried Oreos and Fried Cookie Dough. As if that wasn’t sweet enough, they give you a side of buttercream to spread on your delicious cholesterol bombs. I brought them to our table and shared because a girl needs to watch her figure (not because I’m generous). “This is just wrong” and “These shouldn’t taste this good,” were statements made while we tore into our deep fried desserts. I typically don’t get the fried Oreos because I can make them at home, but sometimes it’s nice to let someone else do the work for you. I’m guessing that I could’ve eaten about six of them before puking.
Free milk with 50 cent cookies. Here’s the trick. Go over to the agriculture building where they have the milk exhibit. A lot of times they will be giving out free small cartons of milk. This time they were giving out chocolate milk (score!). Then head over to the building where they have the cakes, jams, and quilts. There’s an area in that building where several ladies are baking Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip cookies in a bunch of toaster ovens. Cookies are 50 cents each. You might as well get two.
Ice Cream. I will often stop by the ice cream stand on the way out, the one near the carousel. They have some really good soft serve. I always debate on just going to Zesto’s instead, but I get sucked into the fair euphoria. The night that I was with the College Ministry, one of the students also got an ice cream cone and said, “This is the best ice cream I’ve ever had. I wonder what makes it so good.”
“Higher fat content,” I replied. And isn’t that what makes the Fair so great? It’s the one time of year that we go all in, nutritional facts be cursed! Sure, it might take a month for our bodies to recover, but the memories will last forever.
I mentioned earlier that I participated in the First College Ministry’s Manhunt at the Fair. I dressed in a disguise and students had to find me and a few others who were on the manhunt list. This got me thinking about identity. We often judge others and ourselves by what we wear, how our hair looks, our posture, our age (or our perceived age), and whatever else can be seen on the outside. Then there are internal crises that arise as well. Who am I? What is my purpose? When we go through big times of change and transition, it is particularly easy to question who we are. When I started college more than a couple of years ago, I went through that struggle. I was coming into my own and enjoying life a lot more, but I would often slip into feeling like an imposter. Will all of my new friends realize that I’m not actually cool? Do people similar to me, particularly where I’m from, go into media and communications fields? Am I worthy enough to be a leader (I ended up being president of a student organization) when all of my high school teachers would give me lower marks on leadership?
It’s easy to let others define us. Maybe you’ve lived in the shadow of a sibling and you feel like you’re only so-and-so’s brother. Maybe you’re a mom and you love being a mom, but you’re starting to feel like that’s all that you are. Without your kids, without your spouse, who are you? Maybe you’re the tech person, the decorations person, the doctor, the custodian, the banker, that guy who works all of the time. These are things that can be part of us, but they don’t have to, nor should they completely define us.
For those of us who follow Christ, we should be defined by Christ. Romans 6:6 says, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” Whatever you were before is gone. When God the Father looks at you, He sees His Son. Jesus took the wrath that we deserved and gave us a new identity! Galatians 3:23-29 sheds more light on this.
“Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
We have “put on” Christ; He is our identity now. We are God’s children, heirs to the throne. We’ve done nothing to deserve our adoption into God’s family, but because of our new identity in Christ, we have a place, we have a purpose.
If you ever find yourself struggling to find yourself, look to Jesus and you’ll find everything that you’ll ever need to be. Christians, are you living like Christ is your identity or are you trying to find it in something else? Now is a good time to do an ID check. If Christ is our identity, we will live like Him, loving strangers, helping the poor, welcoming people into the fold, even when we’re uncomfortable.
If God has led you to this page and all of this sounds foreign to you or you’re wondering how to place your identity in Christ, please e-mail us. A minister would love to talk and share with you.
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Let’s chat! Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below. If you are a church member and restaurant owner and would like for us to come visit your restaurant, e-mail me here. Or, if there’s a place you’d like for us to check out before you spend your money, let us know in the comments below. We want to hear from you!
Hi! I’m April. I work on staff here at FIRST designing a bunch of things for print and Web. I believe that world peace can be achieved over a pan of fresh baked biscuits and everyone coming to faith in Jesus. Ok, really it’s just Jesus, but the biscuits help.