2012 State Fair Food Photography Contest Results

We were absolutely floored by the hundreds of entries we received from you for our first annual State Fair Food Photography Contest. Collectively, you guys captured the energy, the high spirits, and the carbs that make the Fair what it is.

Thanks to all of you who entered, and to our judges: our own Katie Cannon, the team at Vellee Deli, and brewer Nate Siats of Summit. (And if you haven’t had a chance to check out our own 2012 State Fair Food Tour, please do.)

Thanks also to French Meadow Bakery for their donation of a $50 gift card, and Nom Nom Foodie, for underwriting $200 in Visa gift cards for our winners.

Without further ado, our five prize winners and a slate of honorable mentions that were too good not to print …

2nd Prize, Non-Instagram: “You gonna eat that pickle?| Tracy Morrison / @sellabitmum
Judges’ Take:
That face! That pickle! Who could resist?

1st Prize, Non-Instagram: “Ole’s Amazing Cannoli” | Sharyn Morrow / massdistraction
Judges’ Take:
Not only were these cannoli one of the most delicious items at the Fair, but this image is dripping with deliciousness. Perfect cannoli, lined up and ready to be eaten — Yum! (Also see: Our profile and review of Ole’s Cannoli.)

2nd Prize, Instagram: “New goal: become state fair judge” | krainaldo
Judges’ Take:
There were two amazing draws for me with this image. First, I love the rows and rows of Pac-Man-esque cakes. Homemade and just so inviting with a piece missing — makes me want to cut a sliver of each to try! Second is the brilliant caption from the photographer, “New goal: become state fair judge.” Hear, hear!

1st Prize, Instagram: “Untitled” | agcopeland
Judges’ Take:
The composition of this shot draws you right in the dish — past the fork and right into the bright flavors of the walleye roll.

GRAND PRIZE: “State Fair French Fries” | pjsmiles
Judges’ Take:
Vibrant colors, iconic food stand, amazing sky. An all-around fabulous shot that captures the Minnesota State Fair itself, as well as the food scene we all love.

Honorable Mentions:

You might be able to find a jar or two of honey at the Minnesota State Fair!“| Deb Ellis / HakeemIsFat
Judges’ Take:
It’s all about the color. Golden to amber to red jars of honey all lined up at the Fair. Gorgeous!

There’s gold behind that greasy glass” | Noelle Severson / @NoelleSeverson
Judges’ Take:
Most people would photograph the gorgeous, golden fried finished mini-donuts. Not this photographer — this is where it’s at — State Fair greasy goodness in all its glory.

Cotton Candy” | dailypowers
Judges’ Take:  
This is such a great capture of the vibrancy and iconic booths of the Midway food scene. Great angle and nice composition to fill the frame with the booth.

MN State Fair 2012” | Matt Weber / thymeinourkitchen
Judges’ Take:
I love a candid that makes me laugh out loud. From the Gander Mountain hat to the kid eating a corn dog like an ear of corn, this photo is just hilariously cute! To top it all off, the Instagram filter that the photographer chose captures this with a retro feel that perfectly suits the subject.

MN State Fair” | ingridradio
Judges’ Take:
I love the simplicity of this image. Sometimes we get carried away trying to capture everything — who, what when, where — instead of looking at things simply and through a more narrow scope that tells the same story. This image is a brilliant example of it — simply filling the frame with brightly colored carnival food.

Spin the wheel with the dancing fairy” | iheartsharks
Judges’ Take:
This image is all about vibrancy and the hint of an after-dark secret world to the Fair. What a great capture!

If you’re one of the prize winners, please drop us a note at editor@heavytable.com and we’ll figure out a good mailing address. If we don’t hear from you in a few days, we’ll do our best to reach out.

Thanks to all of you who entered — we were humbled and greatly entertained! See you next year at the Fair.


  1. BrianJ

    I’m confused on how the limit of three entries per category was enforced.

    Otherwise, nice photos and thanks for the contest.

  2. Dave

    I’m confused about that as well. I submitted photos, but made sure to delete any that were over and above the limit of three before the final day of the contest.

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