Six of the wackiest foods from the State Fair of Virginia, ranked

I've spent almost three decades living in Virginia and never once visited the state fair. This year, I decided to rectify that appalling record. I had a professional interest, of course, and that was in the food.

State fairs are known for their outrageous-bordering-on-hedonistic fare, mostly because of the fried food. Sweet, savory, salty: Basically, if it's edible, you can fry it and sell it at the fair. (It's pretty much like the "we can pickle that sketch" from "Portlandia.") I spent an afternoon at this year's event in Doswell, Va., about 80 miles south of Washington, trying as many crazy things as my time and appetite would allow. Here they are, ranked from worst to best.

Deep-fried butter

Don't fall for the hype: Avoid deep-fried butter at all costs. Basically what you get for $5 is half a stick of salted butter (on a stick, naturally) that has been battered, fried and topped with cinnamon, powdered sugar and caramel sauce. I wanted to like this, partially because the guy who made it was so friendly and partially because I wanted to prove all the skeptics wrong, but alas, there was no helping it. The batter was fine enough. Once I got past it, though, all I encountered was solid, still pretty cold, butter. Pass.