(PUEBLO, Colo.) — When driving through the Steel City you might catch a glimpse of the Ferris Wheel or hear the sounds of ring toss — it is the 151st year of the State Fair. While the rides and exotic shows attract many, there are several signature dishes from vendors that have become staples at the State Fair through the years.

While walking through the rides, you may catch a smell of New York-style pizza which comes from Manhattans. “You can come in and get a nice, big slice of pizza and just head out the door or stop at the bar on your way out — which seems to be a bit more of a fan favorite,” said the Manager of Manhattans, Dustin Solano. 

But, there’s so much more to Manhattans than pizza, and they are one of the few vendors who are able to sell liquor and signature cocktails.

“Parrot Bay is a sponsor, Bird Dog is one of our sponsors in which we serve a 32-ounce lemonade in a metal tin,” Solano said. “We’ve just added mules, Manhattan mules [which are] served in a tin.”

When it comes to his favorite part of the fair, Solano shared it’s all about the food.

“We’ve got great stuff here, but we’ve got great stuff all over the fair. So, it’s nice to come through and just get a little bit of something. People are coming from out of town, so you get a taste that you may not be so familiar with, even though everything mostly is local,” Solano said.

Another vendor that many visitors have come to know and love is the Vineland Food Booth. One member of the booth shared how it all came about from the demand of fairgoers.

“All the exhibitors, the old farmers and ranchers went to the commissioners and complained because they said, there’s no place we can go to get food,” Vineland Food Booth worker, Warren Chambers said. “We can go to the church, to the booths, and get fair food. But it’s not food, so we need a place to eat.”

When it comes to the food, Chambers shared how in the beginning days, it was all thanks to donations.

“The families would donate the beef out of the feedlots. My dad used to give them pinto beans and onions,” Chambers said. “First of all, it was called the Ranch Burger, and it is basically a sloppy joe with beans and then later, of course, they started throwing chilies in, but it was all donated.”

Stepping foot on the fairgrounds brings back childhood memories for Chambers.

“I just remember when I was a little kid in the ’50s going with my mom to the church and spending all day in the basement while they were cooking pies,” said Chambers.

While they no longer sell pies, the ranch burgers were described as a fan favorite.

“We sell a bunch of ranch burgers, and it’s basically a sloppy Joe, you know, hamburger meat and tomato sauce,” Chambers said. “But, we put pinto beans with it, you know, to give it a little bit more bulk and protein.”

Besides enjoying all the flavors of the ranch burger, customers should know their money is going to a good cause.

“Almost all of the money that goes through this goes to church, and as a small little rural church, we do an amazing amount of charity work within our community and also outside the United States,” said Chambers.

The State Fair ends on Labor Day, so you still have a few more days to enjoy the rides and grab a tasty bite from the vendors who call the fairgrounds a second home.