Fair food — eating on a budget

Nicholas Klinger, 5, of Jefferson City, enjoys a ketchup-covered corn dog with his family in front of the Jaycees food stand on Tuesday evening at the Jefferson City Jaycees Fair.

Nicholas Klinger, 5, of Jefferson City, enjoys a ketchup-covered corn dog with his family in front of the Jaycees food stand on Tuesday evening at the Jefferson City Jaycees Fair. Photo by Shaun Zimmerman.

The Jefferson City Jaycees Fair is in full swing this week and one favorite for many is the food to be found on the fairgrounds.

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Jeremy Forbes of Jefferson City digs in to a container full of pulled pork BBQ nachos at one of the several food stands at the fair on Tuesday evening. By the end, he got a little messy.

But after a $10 admission, what is the best way to spend your money wisely and fill your stomach?

On Tuesday night, I went to find the best bang for your buck, dragging along another tester since I knew I couldn’t eat as much as the fair had to offer, even if only sampling the eats.

Obviously, there are the standard fair items: corn dogs, funnel cakes, hot dogs and the like. But at $6 a pop, I was less than tempted by the funnel cakes.

The 4-H Club food stand was the first stop and definitely not something to be dismissed. The food is reasonably priced with good portions and the walking taco, at $3, was delicious and filling. Plus, they advertise a special of a single burger, small drink and chips at $4, not a bad buy if you’re trying to feed your family on a budget.

The Jaycees stand was pretty similar to the 4-H, though with a more expanded menu. The prices were comparable and the portions were more than fair.

But I think the best buy, if you’re looking for a full meal, came from Moose Brothers BBQ. Their items were slightly more pricey, but the portions were hefty and dinners are offered with two sides for less than $8.

I tried their BBQ nachos for $6, which was too hefty of a portion for me to eat alone. Though I am not a huge fan of the combination of barbecue sauce and cheese, Jeremy Forbes, my associate tester, throught they were very good, even if the pulled pork wasn’t the best he’d ever had.

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