Food, Wine and other Beverages

Fried Foods and the Southern Festival

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Fried Food on Display Like Fancy Cakes at a Bakery at the Blue Crab Festival in Little River, South Carolina

Strolling past the vendors at any one of dozens of food festivals that go on in May in the South, the sound of sizzling hot oil seems to hiss, “Jamie Oliver be damned.”

Whatever you do, I wouldn’t show up there hungry. It’s a gauntlet.

Fried dough, aka funnel cakes, french fries, fried crab, fried chicken and turkey legs and yes, some more strange items too. If it’s edible and can be eaten with your hands or put on a stick, somebody has fried it already, and has it available for you at a nearby food festival:

Fried pickles, Twinkies, miniature goat cheeses, silver queen corn, crowd favorite okra, perhaps even Oreo cookies.

Fried Corn and Duct Tape

At the Little River Blue Crab Festival, fried food smells push their way through the thick Carolina humidity and hit like a wall; and as with any wall it’s best not to steer into it head on. In spite of what the copious serving sizes on display imply, for the uninitiated, fried food consumption is best partaken in obliquely: a bite of a spouse’s fried crab cake sandwich here, a section of blooming onion there. In this case, insist that each child absolutely does not have to have his or her own.

Six or so otherwise unconnected people around me, cans of Busch beer firm-fisted, sing in unison, momentarily and enthusiastically with Charlie Daniels as he belts out Long Haired Country Boy. In that synchronicity, I get chill bumps and suddenly want a big beautiful plate of potato chips. Thankfully this feeling passes.

About the author

Margo Millure lives in Richmond, Virginia. She is a portrait photographer, writer and founder of Travel Belles. Learn more about her at

This article has 11 comments

  1. barbara

    Your experience sounds exactly like the Minnesota Fair in August. Every fried food imaginable and some I would never imagine without the use of hallucinatory drugs. My favorite is cheese curds but my friend likes the fried pickles. There’s a deep fried something for every discerning taste bud.

  2. Dawn

    Funny, my only experience w/ the Blue Crab Festival was running a 5K. Sounds like I missed the good stuff!

  3. Nancie (Ladyexpat)

    Great post, Margo. Good advice on sharing. It’s so easy to over dose on fried foods.

  4. Gourmantic

    Now I’ve got a craving for crab. And those chips in the photo are calling my name!

  5. Margo

    Barbara, yesterday someone asked me if at this event I saw the fried butter! Couldn’t believe that one.

    Dawn, the crowd was not very 5k at this later hour, but definitely more fun.

    Nancie, in general my husband might disagree because with this system, it’s usually me eating his food – but at this kind of event, he knows I’m just being helpful!

  6. Wanderluster

    Food festivals are dangerous! So many beautiful foods, so little time – not to mention money! Great write up and terrific pictures.

  7. Wanderluster

    Man, even a Blue Crab Festival? I die.

  8. Liv

    Man, even a Blue Crab Festival? I die.

  9. Eleonora

    I like fried everything… Those chips (and the idea of a Blue Crab Fest) are making me weak in the knees.

    Lovely post and great tip on sharing.

  10. Margo

    Thanks everyone!

  11. Paz

    Yum! That’s all I have to say. 😉


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