The root beer should be mixed ahead—how long it's left to ferment depends on the flavor you're looking for. After 2 days, it will taste strongly of molasses; at the end of 5, it will be milder and slightly alcoholic.
The pickles can be made in advance and stored for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Choosing the right potato is key for great french fries. For five varieties of potato that fry up perfectly, see our article Finest for Fries »
There are a few state fairs around the U.S. that really stand out. Jane and Michael Stern highlight a few of their favorites in Six State Fairs Worth the Trip »
For some folky state fair tunes to set your dinner party's mood, subscribe to our playlist on Spotify »