It’s hard to know where the idea for “fried bubblegum” came from, and it’s harder still to imagine what that could possibly taste like, but I guess that’s why we have the State Fair of Texas: Where else is your mother going to let you eat this stuff?

The eight finalists for the 7th Annual Big Tex Choice Awards for “best taste” and “most creative” new foods at the State Fair are: Buffalo Chicken in a Flapjack, Deep Fried Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Deep Fried Texas Salsa, El Bananarita, Fried Autumn Pie, Fried Bubblegum, Hans’ Kraut Ball and the Walking Taco.

The chicken-in-a-flapjack sounds promising to me, and the deep fried salsa could be interesting, too. Perennial champ Abel Gonzalez (of fried butter fame) is offering the upside down cake (just saw him on NBC’s Today Show this morning). The walking taco (taco ingredients served up in a Doritos bag) sounds similar to a taco in a bag I saw at the Minnesota State Fair last week.

Anyway, judging for the finalists is on Labor Day, so watch the TV stations, blogs, websites and DMN beginning at noon Monday to find out the winners. This year’s State Fair runs Sept. 30-Oct. 23.

Those of us here at the Advocate are part of the mix, too: We publish the printed Visitors Guide you’ll receive on-site, and we’re also working on a mobile Visitors Guide accessible from many smartphones this year, too. If you visit on your smartphone today, you’ll see at least part of what we’re preparing for the Fair, and if you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know at