If you have some time off from your restaurant this summer you might hit the local fair, big ass rodeo - or whatever your local summer festival happens to be called - to play midway food roulette. Scorpion Pizza, anyone?

Here in YYC, or Cow Town as we’re also known, our big ass rodeo is the Calgary Stampede – billed as the greatest outdoor show on earth. This year’s version runs July 4 -13.

The annual event usually makes headlines across North America when it releases its list of midway food vendors. This year is no exception.

Atop the weird list is pizza garnished with nice, crunchy scorpions. You will also be able to tax your heart with Bacon Wrapped Pork Belly On a Stick or a Deep Fried Donut Bacon Cheeseburgers. Crocodile Sliders also made this year’s list.

For a list of just about any kind of food on a stick you could (or might not want to) imagine, check out the Idaho State Fair. Vendors there offered more than 60 FOS items last year.

If you’re looking for a source of edible insects to complement that Asian night market-themed menu update you’re planning – and we know that you are – the folks at Thailand Unique can hook you up.

Unfortunately, eating midway food sometimes means you’re playing roulette with more than your taste buds or blood cholesterol levels.

Last year, a food-borne illness affected more than 150 people attending Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition. The problem food was identified as a heart-attack-on-a-plate, riffing on the half-doughnut, half-croissant made famous by Chef Dominique Ansel, with an added a beef patty called the “Maple Bacon Jam Cronut Burger.”

The source of the contamination was the vendor-supplied maple bacon jam used to top the item.

Given the sketchy conditions under which barely trained staff turns out most midway chow, it’s a testament to vendors’ dedication to food safety that lots more people don’t get the screaming shits.

Photo Credit: 
Dan Chung for the Guardian