Funnel cakes a perk at State Fair stop

Funnel cake is one of several State Fair foods available to RAGBRAI riders.(MARY STEGMEIR / The Register)

Funnel cake is one of several State Fair foods available to RAGBRAI riders.(MARY STEGMEIR / The Register)

Funnel cake from the Iowa State Fair was impossible to pass up for RAGBRAI rider Elizabeth Deiter.

The 48-year-old had already been craving something sweet when she pedaled past a food stand selling the fried bread this morning.

“I’ve been meaning to have a funnel cake since I’ve been on the ride,” said the woman from Sabetha, Kansas.

“There are a lot of us that ride on these long rides just so we can eat junk food,” said Deiter, resting on a bench inside the state fairgrounds.  “We don’t allow ourselves to eat it the rest of the year. But on RAGBRAI, anything goes.”

Funnel cake vendor Terry Dobbin arrived at the fairgrounds this morning at 4:30 a.m.

Her funnel cake sales goal? “To sell as many as we can.”

Steve Rouw, a cyclist from Chariton, predicted the fair staple would be in high demand today.

“How can you ride into the State Fair and not want a funnel cake?” he asked.

His 12-year-old son, Billy Rouw, enjoyed one for breakfast this morning.

“Yesterday, when we were walking around downtown (Des Moines), he wanted one,” said the elder Rouw. “I had to let him get one today.”

This is the first time a RAGBRAI route has included the State Fair. Roughly 70 percent of RAGBRAI riders come from out-of-state, so for many cyclists, today marked their first time seeing Iowa’s famed fairgrounds.

Other foods for sale this morning included walking tacos, muffins and Liquid Sunshine – a concoction that includes Red Bull and orange juice.

The Iowa State Fair Sky Glider is running, but as of 8 a.m. there were few takers as early bird cyclists started the day’s 50-mile ride to Knoxville.

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