One event MANY an East Texas is looking forward to is the State Fair of Texas, scheduled for September 24 – October 17 at Fair Park in Dallas. Particularly after the disappoint of hearing last year's was cancelled. A rare thing, indeed.

The State Fair of Texas has been happening every year since 1886--give a take a few years during World War 1 and 2. AND of course--2020. Thankfully, it's back this autumn.

There are so many things we love about the State Fair, but one of the very highest on the list? THE FOOD.

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They've announced their 32 semi-finalists for this year's Big Tex Choice Awards Food Competition! Nineteen of the entries are "savory" and 13 are "sweet." All, I'm sure, will be amazing.

Frankly, as fun as it would be to have to taste all of these delectable treats to judge which should make the cut, it seems like it would be nearly impossible to decide.

But decide they did. And now we can make our lists of the first foods we want to try when we get there.

Of course, this list of 32 will be whittled down yet again to the list of finalists in mid-August sometime. And then down yet again when the 3 competition awards are given to the purveyors of this culinary wizardry in three categories:

Best Taste--Savory

Best Taste--Sweet

Most Creative 

Here's the 32 semi-finalists, as reported by the Houston Chronicle (And don't worry, many of your familiar faves will still be there, too):

In the "sweet" category:

The Armadillo

This one's going at the top of "to try" list. Two deep-fried cookies in the shape of an armadillo will sandwich cookie butter semifreddo.

Texas Pumpkin Poke Cake

Oh how we love all things pumpkin when fall arrives. The Houston Chronicles describes this one as a "Texas-shaped, decadent pumpkin cake with vanilla glaze, caramel, and whipped cream."

Southern Fried Lemon Ice Box Pie Balls

I'm a sucker for any dessert involving lemon. Especially pie. But, I confess, I'd never heard of a pie "ball." This pie ball is wrapped in dough deliciously made with brown sugar, graham crackers, and lemon zest--and is then battered and friend. Dear Lord. Add some ice cream and crumbled lemon graham cracker, more lemon zest, and edible gold glitter and it's easy to imagine  why this one made the semi-finals.

Going Bananas
Elvis would be proud. They roll a banana in the same delicious batter with which they make funnel cakes, fry it, then cover it in chocolate, peanut butter sauce, and whipped cream.

Fried Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake
Do you love cake donuts and English toffee? Get ready to swoon. Add almonds and blend with custard. Then they pour the mix into ring-shaped molds before dipping in a panko/vanilla cookie crumb mixture and fry. Even better? It's served along with a mocha cream.

Other entries in the sweet category?

Brisket Brittle (replace the peanuts with brisket...how very Texas.;))

Fried Capirotada (or Mexican Bread Pudding)

Also, Deep Fried Halloween (the best use of candy corn I've ever heard of), Deep Fried Toffee, Deep Fried Ritz, Deep Fried Peach Cobbler Soul Rolls, Deep Fried PB & Razbrûlée (berrylicious), and Deep Fried Pancakes.

AND NOW, THE SAVORY CATEGORY:

Bacon Jam Corn Bombs

Country Fried Shrimp Grits

Crawfish Étouffée Stuffed Turkey Leg

Crispy Crazy Corn

Dallas Hot (They take a smoked turkey frank, batter and fry it and then pile mac & cheese on top. Plus some fried jalapenos and a bit of Cholula.)

Deep Fried I-35 (Lots of talk about this one. It's described as "a deep-fried Texas road trip on a plate!")

Deep Fried Seafood Gumbo Balls

Deep Fried Shrimp Étouffée

Frozen Ranch Water (Yum. This has Topo Chico, a bit of lime, and a wine-based tequila?! Sounds amazing.)

Hawaiian Luau (Honey mustard slaw, pork, fried SPAM, teriyaki, and fried pineapple rings all piled on a Hawaiian bun.)

Lobster Corn Dog

Lucky Duck Dumplin'

Pork Shots

Takis Locos (This one may actually be on the top of my list now: chips tops with melted cheese, refried beans, pico, cilantro, sour cream...yum.)

Texas BBQ Brisket Banh Mi

Texas Chicken Fried Steak Flauta Basket

Texas Easter Eggs

Texas Fried Surf and Turf

Twice-Fried Albondigas (Mexican Meatballs)

Welp, where are you gonna begin? I'm going to have to abstain from eating two weeks prior. (Kidding, kidding.)

And I hope some of the finalists from 2019 will be there, too. Let's take a look back at those. You'll find the overall winners at the end: 

A Delicious Look Back at the Big Tex Choice Award Finalists & Winners of 2019

I hope we see the return of some of these delectable deep-fried culinary creations that won the hearts and taste buds of the 2019 judges.

YUM: Check Out These 12 Mouth-Watering Eats And Treats Coming To The Texas State Fair

My First Trip to Jucy's Tacos

I finally took the time to stop at Jucy's Tacos while in Longview over the weekend. It was so good.