Delicious Scenes from the Most Deep-Fried Fair in the World

Photographer Chase Hall explores the softer side of stuffing your face with 18-inch corndogs, patriotic nachos, and entire batches of chocolate chip cookies.

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Sep 14 2016, 5:00pm

This year, more than 1.5 million people attended the Minnesota State Fair, which has now been around for 150 years. The food there seems more important than the rides, and the number of humans eating fried anything is arresting, in a beautiful, stomach-achy type of way.

When I attended the fair on September 2, wherever you looked, there was a glistening, golden-brown snack. The eating traditions at the fair seem to go beyond nostalgia—there's always something new and totally absurd that you've got to try—but are a rite of passage to finish off each summer, whether they involve cheese curds, tiny doughnuts, or deep-fried walleye on a stick. The fair was packed to the brim, but everyone seemed alright with that. Deep-fried Twinkies and humans on electric scooter carts were the norm. The smell is so comforting—people wait all year for the 18-inch corn dogs and buckets of fresh, warm cookies. In the moment it doesn't get any better, but on the trek home you definitely have horrible stomach pains.

But it's the fair, so it's well worth it.

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Sweet Martha's make one million cookies a day. All photos by Chase Hall.
chase-county-fair-food-2 "Well, golly."

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Start with a turkey leg.
chase-county-fair-food-6 Beer tasting kits. A little taste of Minnesota.

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An ice cream bar covered in fudge, whipped cream, and sprinkles.
chase-county-fair-food-7 Scotch eggs. This one's for my buddy, Gavin.

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A bloomin' onion. Throw an onion in a deep fryer.
chase-county-fair-food-11 A pineapple piña colada fit for a princess.

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Red, white, and blue "America" nachos.
chase-county-fair-food-14 Huge corn dogs! "We don't like mustard too much."

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Tiny Tom's Doughnuts. I hadn't had these since I was eight. I love them.
chase-county-fair-food-18 Grilled corn. This is Wallace.

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A Chicago dog, as enjoyed by a Cubs fan.
chase-county-fair-food-22 All the essentials. Tom Thumb Donuts are considered classics.

Chase Hall is a New York-based photographer by way of St. Paul, Minnesota; Chicago; Las Vegas; California; Dubai; and Colorado. He is also a former chef at The Smile. See more of his work at chaseahall.com or on Instagram at @hallchase.