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Chocolate-Covered Bacon on a Stick? More Fair Food in 2011

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How much smoked meat did the pig in a bag guy go through at the 2010 Nebraska State Fair? Literally a ton as the owner explained last year.

After the 2010 fair, Ron Neseth told NTV, "We had to smoke another 750 pounds just to complete the process."

Not only will the pork nachos be back, they Neseths are adding to the menu, at the fair's request.

State Fair Facilities Director Jaime Parr said, "We have a few chocolate dipped items that are definitely new this year -- chocolate-covered cheese curls, chocolate-covered potato chips, chocolate-covered Rice Krispy treats on a stick of course."

Inside the exhibition hall, all 350 slots are full, with a waiting list. And there's a 75 percent increase in sponsorship money, according to Marketing Director Shaun Schlief.

He said, "This year because of the great work everyone did at the 2010 State Fair we're up about 200,000 from last year to about 470,000."

It was anybody's guess what crowds would be last year, so fair staff stuck to conservative estimates.

Parr said, "We did cut back just a little in the pure unknown of what would happen the first year in Grand Island."

That resulted in long lines. Now that they know better, they've added 20 more food booths and extended hours for early birds, with food booths opening at 9:00 a.m.

"We experienced a lot of people on the grounds earlier last year and our vendors weren't
ready and open for them and we hate to make people wait," Parr said.

The campground will be complete this year. Parr said that's almost full.

They're also adding new outdoor exhibitors including NPPD, plus a craft show and bingo throughout the fair.

Reporter's Notes by Steve White:
Tickets are on sale for Willie Nelson and Larry the Cable Guy. Fair officials said both shows are selling well, however, only a handful of tickets have been sold in Omaha.

The fair has 350 indoor exhibitor booth spaces. Some vendors use more than one space. Right now, Parr said she has 150 contracts signed, and 130 still coming. Outdoors, she said they have 150 exhibitor spaces.

Other new food items include fried s'mores, apple turnovers, and Parr said the "Village Pie Lady" will be baking every morning at 3:00 a.m. in the livestock arena to have fresh pies available for fairgoers.

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