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Healthy food options abound at Mid-State Fair 

California Mid-State Fair. 15C

A 15C cheese platter is prepared in advance for the day. Photo by Heather Young

Several food vendors cater to ‘food-challenged’ visitors

When people say “fair food,” what usually comes to mind is anything fried – especially funnel cake and corn dogs – along with cotton candy, kettle corn and basically anything many people avoid eating during the rest of the year. But what do you do when you don’t want to eat the traditional types of fair food; when you’d rather have something healthy? Or maybe when you have “food challenges?”

If the thought of going to the fair makes you sick to the stomach as you think about your food choices, don’t despair — there are plenty of options for you at this year’s California Mid-State Fair. There is a good selection of fresh, local food, including one booth that offers 100 percent gluten-free items from a gluten-free kitchen in Paso Robles.

Healthier food options

  • 15C of Templeton in set up in Mission Plaza on the fairgrounds and offers fresh fruit, cheese platters, made-to-order salads and sandwiches. While all the ingredients are fresh and local, many of the items include cheese and the sandwiches are made on regular bread; however, all of the food – except for the cheese plates – are made to order and can be tailored to your tastes or to adhere to any food restrictions.

    California Mid-State Fair gluten-free Bless Your Heart

    Red velvet cupcakes by Bless Your Heart Specialty Baking are gluten- and dairy-free. Photo by Heather Young

  • Nature’s Touch of Templeton has a booth situated inside the side door of Estrella Hall when coming from Mission Square. Find a selection of fresh fruits and veggies, as well as some packages salads and fresh-pressed orange juice; most offerings are gluten- and dairy-free.
  • Bless Your Heart Specialty Baking is set up across the aisle from Nature’s Touch and has gluten-free granola bars, cupcakes, crackers, cookies, sandwiches and salads; samples of some specialty items are available. The sandwiches are prepared in advanced at its Paso Robles location and have been selling out daily, more are being made and brought in daily.
  • Organic Juice Farm of Paso Robles shares space with Bless Your Heart has a variety of bottled juices from its Paso Robles juicery. If you haven’t tried it before, stop by for a sample.
  • Jamba Juice has four different flavors – one of which is dairy-free. Offered along the midway of the fair, all of the smoothies are made in its Paso Robles location that day, transported to the fairgrounds and stored in freezers.


Fresh indulgences
Looking for something different or special to try, but still enjoy fresh and quality ingredients? Here are some additional choices:

  • Southern Comfort Food, located next to the Frontier Stage, is based in the Bay Area and owned by two brothers; both are chefs from New Orleans.
    Mid-State Fair, Southern Comfort fried gator

    Southern Comfort serves up made-to-order fried gator and crab fries plus a variety of fresh menu items. Photo by Heather Young

    They take their fresh Louisiana-style food to events around the state, as they work to open a brick and mortar restaurant in the Bay Area. Its specialties are fried gator and crab fries, both of which are made-to-order and topped with house-made sauces and fresh seasoning.

  • Leo Leo Gelato of Paso Robles is serving up a selection of their gelatos in the midway section of the fair, most of which are gluten-free and the sorbets are dairy-free. Owner Niccolo Lekai said that each flavor has its own spatula to cut down on cross-contamination.
  • Gerardo’s, located between Grandstand Arena and main entrance, grills up fresh bell peppers, onions and jalapeños that can be added to any dish at no-additional cost. Also on the grill are kabobs with chicken and fresh vegetables, breaded fish tacos and bacon-wrapped hot dogs.
  • Grilled corn on the cob. There are several booths – including Paso Robles’ Bubba’s Big Bad Barbecue – serving up fresh grilled corn.
  • Atascadero Kiwanis Club’s booth next to the Equestrian Arena serves fresh, made-to-order hamburgers and sandwiches. The proceeds go to local nonprofits supported by the service organization.

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