Stanislaus County Fair food will have a moment in the national TV spotlight

Foods at this year's Stanislaus County Fair will be featured on the Food Network's new series "Carnival Eats."
Foods at this year's Stanislaus County Fair will be featured on the Food Network's new series "Carnival Eats." The Modesto Bee

Move over diners and drive-ins, Stanislaus County Fair food is about to dive into the national TV spotlight.

The Food Network has picked the fair to be featured on an episode of its upcoming “Carnival Eats” series. TV crews will be at the fair this weekend to film for two days. Fair spokeswoman Adrenna Alkhas said the show’s producers contacted fair officials about featuring the event after visiting its website.

“This is very exciting for us,” Alkhas said. “I think it’s a really good opportunity because the fairs are in a dire state in California. The show will show the importance of fairs in the community. And it will highlight Stanislaus County and the great foods we have at the fair. Let’s show them what we have in Stanislaus County.”

“Carnival Eats” will premiere on Food Network Canada, the Cooking Channel and Great American Country in August. All three networks are owned by Scripps Networks Interactive.

Produced by Canadian broadcaster Shaw Media, “Carnival Eats” bills itself as an “inside look at the mouth-watering and outrageous ‘foods’ famously found at fairs and carnivals, the wacky characters who create them and the culinary thrill-seekers who devour and delight in them.” The first season will have 14 episodes.

Alkhas said the Stanislaus County Fair episode is expected to air in late October. She said this will be the first time the event, which highlights the county’s agricultural diversity, will be in the national television spotlight.

Crews and series host Noah Cappe will be at the fair from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Alkhas said producers the first day plan to focus on four specific vendors. On the second day, they will film around the fair and talk with patrons.

The four vendors that will be featured have not been revealed. Alkhas said this year there are 36 food vendors offering everything from the humble corn dog to funnel cake bacon cheeseburgers and deep-fried shark bites. You can wash it all down with a new item this year, beer floats.

“They were looking for interesting and different types of foods. Things you can only find at a fair,” Alkhas said. “They also spoke to our food vendors, who had positive statements about the fair and how many of them have been returning to our fair for years.”

Alkhas said producers may pick fairgoers to participate in the filming as well. In addition to speaking with vendors, there will be scenes shot throughout the fair from the carnival to livestock.

The series has traveled across the United States and Canada this spring and summer to prepare for its inaugural season. Crews have filmed at festivals and fairs in Texas, Oklahoma, Chicago and Portland, sampling such exotic eats as scorpion pizza and peanut butter cobbler.

The Stanislaus County Fair kicks off its 10-day run Friday.