Are you looking for a cake that will wow a crowd? If so, this German Chocolate Cake is for you! Paula Buchanan won Best Cake at the 2015 Illinois State Fair with this recipe (adapted from Baker’s Chocolate). One taste and you will agree it’s a winner. The cake and homemade frosting are heavenly. I can’t wait to make this again for our next family holiday get together!
2023 “Top 30 State Fairs” List
2023 “Top 30 State Fairs” List
As long-time state fair baking/cooking contest managers, the Blue Ribbon Group is excited to share, for the first time publicly, our 2023 “Top 30 State Fairs” list. With this list we offer our answer to the often-asked question: What are the best state fairs in the United States?
This new compilation is based exclusively on two factors: per day attendance numbers (total 2022 attendance divided by total days open) and their baking competitions (history of past Blue Ribbon Group special contests). All 30 fairs have higher per day attendance than any other U.S. state fairs happening July to October each year.
Topping this 2023 “Top 30 State Fairs” list is the Minnesota State Fair, followed by the Tulsa State Fair, State Fair of Texas, Iowa State Fair, and Wisconsin State Fair. Here are the top 10, listed in order, followed by the complete list noting each fairs’ dates and attendance numbers.
- Minnesota State Fair
- Tulsa State Fair
- State Fair of Texas
- Iowa State Fair
- Wisconsin State Fair
- North Carolina State Fair
- Oklahoma State Fair
- Ohio State Fair
- New York State Fair
- Illinois State Fair
Awesome Attendance Numbers
- Attendance numbers in 2022, ranged from 26,224 to 153,519 for per day averages, and 287,367 to 2,500,000 for overall total attendances.
- All take place between July and November, with the majority happening in August, September and October.
- All are official state fairs with two caveats. The Tennessee State Fair and Wilson County Fair essentially merged in 2021, with the Wilson County Fairgrounds location becoming it’s home. The Salem Fair is the largest in Virginia with a 350,000 attendance in 2022.
Since 2006, Blue Ribbon Group has managed special recipe contests at large state, county and regional fairs. Find a collection of winning recipes at BlueRibbonGroup.net and featured on BlueRibbonFoodies on Instagram and Facebook.
Easy Bruschetta Biscuits: this best-ever recipe takes the classic Italian appetizer for a spin…with winning results!
Do you love bruschetta? Diced tomatoes and fresh basil on top of toasted baguette slices? With its color and aroma, I remember loving it before I even tasted it.
This easy bruschetta biscuits recipe is inspired by a recipe Marty Ann Johnson won with at the Illinois State Fair (2014) in a 2014 Bisquick best recipe competition.
These biscuits are not only super delicious, but are also super easy to make. I love how it takes just 10 ingredients.
When you go to make them (highly recommended), here are a few helpful tips. After you dice and de-seed the tomatoes, lightly pat them dry with a paper towel to take away their extra moisture.
Another tip: Be sure to lightly blend the initial dough ingredients as the recipe notes. i.e. try not to over-mix. Add the cheese, tomato and basil after your dough starts to form.
Bake ’em how you love ’em
I did tweak the winner Marty’s already terrific recipe. (She won third place and a lovely rosette ribbon on contest day.) I used plain yoghurt and lemon juice instead of buttermilk. I had a lot of basil so I increased that. I also upped the diced tomatoes. This added more color and moisture, making the biscuit even more tender and yummy! Brushing them fresh out of the oven with a combo of olive oil and garlic powder was a great finishing touch. The 1/4 cup I used–a bit less than the original–was perfect for “generous brushing.”
As a final tip-or more of a suggestion-serve these biscuits with a big leafy green salad and you have a meal. Whip up your batch soon! They are a winner!
p.s. If you find yourself without Bisquick in your pantry, no worries. With flour, baking powder, salt, and shortening, you can do a homemade baking mix (scroll down to bottom of this post). Simply adapt the ingredient amounts or make a big batch to pull from. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Quick Cheesy Herb Crackers
Quick Cheesy Herb Crackers: these 5-ingredient, savory rich crackers are all that…and easy to make! A blue ribbon winner from the Illinois State Fair, they are tender, buttery, and did I mention rich? They tasted so good I admit to daydreaming about them between samples. They originate from Carlene, an avid state fair contester and blue ribbon baker who won 1st place in a 2013 Bisquick best recipe contest that we organized.
When Carlene won, she served her quick cheesy herb crackers with a homemade tomato bruschetta to spoon on top. When we made them, I was reminded how great anything home-made can taste. Using fresh herbs in them packed in the flavor. They go great as a savory snack alongside a big plate of mixed greens or other fresh salad.