From Barbie floats to pickle ice cream, the Pima County Fair features the craziest food you can find. 

There’s truly nothing like the Pima County Fair.

The scents of kettle corn and smoky barbecue fill the air, people are lugging around giant, fluffy stuffed animals and the sounds of laughs and screams are heard in the distance while people flip through the air.

You get to hang with friends and family under the carnival lights, listening to some of your favorite artists perform for a fraction of what Ticketmaster would charge.

While the fun games and adrenaline-pumping rides are always a good time, there’s one thing that really puts the cherry on top of the whole fair experience: the food.

Nothing comes close to the crazy flavor combinations found at the Pima County Fair, which is in town until April 28. Giant corn dogs, Hot Cheetos cotton candy and all the fried treats you can think of are advertised at the vendor trailers found throughout the fair.

Diets, calories and sugar levels don’t exist at the fair. I mean, it’s criminal to leave the grounds without scarfing down a fried funnel cake topped with powdered sugar and globs of whipped cream.

The #ThisIsTucson team made the trip to the fair to try out the craziest foods we could find. Within two hours, we had eaten pickles, Hot Cheetos, ice cream and tater tots, channeling our inner Food Network personas to rank each dish we tried so you can figure out what to try and what to skip.

The Cinnamon Toast Crunch churros were drizzled in caramel and topped with whipped cream and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

1. Cinnamon Toast Crunch churros

As we approached the funnel cake truck to pick a flavor, we noticed a window cling advertising Cinnamon Toast Crunch churros and we instantly knew we had to shift gears.

The dish features three churros drizzled in caramel and topped with whipped cream and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. As soon as we took our first bites, we knew we found the best fair food.

The churros were warm and the perfect texture: crispy yet fluffy on the inside. When you get that extra crunch from the cereal, it really brings everything together. This is something I would definitely get again.

The fried cheesecake had a creamy cheesecake filling covered in batter, topped with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar.

2. Fried cheesecake

This was Elvia’s pick as an avid fan of the rich, velvety dessert. Plus, you HAVE to get at least one fried dessert at the fair.

The fried cheesecake kind of resembles a corn dog before the worker sprinkles on powdered sugar and drizzles chocolate sauce on top. Biting into the dish, you are instantly hit with the creamy cheesecake filing. Then you get the taste of the fried batter, which reminded me of fluffy pancakes. It’s truly a fair classic that is going to hit the spot every time.

The Nashville hot garlic chicken tots were a basket of crispy tots with a few chicken tenders on top, both covered in a garlic sauce. 

3. Nashville hot garlic chicken tots

When it comes to chicken tenders, we at #ThisIsTucson do NOT mess around. As chicken tender experts, we were all very excited when we saw this dish on the fair's Instagram.

Tater tots line the bottom of the basket and a few chicken tenders are placed on top. The best part: you get a side of crunchy pickles.

The best part of this dish were the tots. They were perfectly cooked, each of them with a nice crispy crunch. The garlic sauce of top of them made them even better. I could’ve eaten a whole basket of the tots alone. The chicken tenders were good too, but we wished they were a bit crisper and had a little more spice to them.

The Barbilicious float includes pink bubble gum soda decorated with cotton candy, whipped cream and a lollipop. 

4. Barbilicious float

You can never go wrong with Barbie.

To make this float, the vendor gives pink bubble gum soda a Barbie flair with pink cotton candy and a pink lollipop.

I was a bit apprehensive about this drink because bubble gum flavoring can sometimes taste too artificial, but I was pleasantly surprised when I took my first sip. I thought it tasted like a Shirley Temple, a grenadine and Sprite drink, which has always held a special place in my heart. It’s also super cute and great for those looking for a good Instagram picture.

The flaming hot twist is a giant soft pretzel topped with nacho cheese and crumbles of Hot Cheetos. 

5. Flaming hot twist

Earlier in the week, Gloria sent us a picture of this pretzel from the fair's Facebook page, piquing all of our interests. Much to our surprise, it looked exactly like in did in the picture!

The giant soft pretzel is covered in nacho cheese and crumbles of Hot Cheetos. It was your average soft pretzel, but it was warmed up and the nacho cheese had a kick. The Hot Cheeto crumbs weren’t overwhelming, so it wasn’t super spicy. Overall, it was your average fair food dish — not terrible, but nothing groundbreaking.

The Cap'n Crunch chicken sandwich at the Pima County Fair has a raspberry sauce and Cap'n Crunch cereal.

6. Cap'n Crunch chicken sandwich

This is another crazy fair food staple, which made its debut at the Pima County Fair last year.

Vendors jazz up a regular crispy chicken sandwich with a honey raspberry glaze and a handful of Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries. While the sandwich may look a little scary, Elvia liked the funky concoction. You get the best of both worlds with this one: sweet and savory.

The Hot Cheeto burger features a bun covered in cheese and crumbles of Hot Cheetos. The inside has pickles, a patty, nacho cheese and more Hot Cheetos. 

7. Hot Cheeto burger

Hot Cheetos are truly the star of the fair this year.

This burger features a bun dipped in cheese and Hot Cheeto crumbs. On the inside, you have your usual patty and pickles along with more nacho cheese and Hot Cheetos.

Though it didn’t look the most appetizing, after taking my first bite, I wasn’t mad at it. It was kind of like I added Hot Cheetos to a burger that I would get from a school cafeteria — so basically, a basic burger with spicy chips. It wasn’t bad, but I don’t think I could finish the whole thing.

The Hot Cheetos, pickle and ranch pizza at the Pima County Fair. The pizza features a ranch pizza sauce and is topped with Hot Cheetos, pickles and more ranch.

8. Hot Cheetos, pickles and ranch pizza

We have yet another Hot Cheeto dish and this time the spicy chips are on top of pizza.

The slice of pizza has a white dill ranch pizza sauce and is topped with fresh mozzarella, thick-cut dill pickles and Hot Cheetos. If you're a fan of pickles and ranch, you might be into this slice.

The pickle spilt features a pickle topped with Dole Whip, chamoy, Tajín and Swinkles. 

9. Pickle spilt

We had such high hopes for this one.

The pickle spilt features a pickle topped with Dole Whip (aka pineapple ice cream), along with Tajín, chamoy and Swinkles candy.

We all love pickles and thought this would top our list — but we were left wanting more. The pickle was too sweet and we all agreed: a crunchier pickle would be better suited for this dish. It was also really hard to eat with a plastic fork, which made it difficult to get a bite of the pickle and ice cream together.

On the plus side, the Dole Whip was great and would probably be better in one of the other icy treats that the vendor offers.

The candy watermelon stick is a massive slice of watermelon wrapped in Fruit Roll-Ups and topped with Tajín and chamoy. 

10. Candy watermelon stick

When looking at this treat on the fair's Instagram, it looked amazing — a slice of watermelon wrapped in Fruit Roll-Ups and topped with chamoy and Tajín. It really looked like the perfect, refreshing treat to have in this heat.

But when receiving the snack, it looked totally different than advertised. The watermelon slice was massive, which made it hard to eat and carry around. The Fruit Roll-Up hardly covered the fruit and the chamoy wasn’t great either, making it an unsatisfying treat.

We did all agree, though, that the watermelon itself was good — not too mushy or too firm.

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Jamie Donnelly is the food writer for #ThisIsTucson. Contact her via e-mail at