Given the overwhelming abundance of dazzling and convenient entertainment options available to kids today, that they’re still willing to pile into the car to watch a 4H demonstration in the Cow Palace at the Maryland State Fair — or to get spun around in a giant teacup — is remarkable. It gives me reason to hope that after the technological singularity our synthetic brains will walk our hologram bodies over to the Farm and Garden Building for a little “Swifty Swine” pig racing.

Of course the irrestible allure of the Maryland State Fair is about more than just livestock and Midway rides. There’s also the food. And therein lies a greater mystery: if we really love fair food so much why don’t we make an effort to eat it more than once a year? I don’t know about you, but I don’t crave funnel cake, say, 364 days out of the year. But if I left the Fair without having some it would be impossible not to feel bitter pangs of regret.

This year’s Fair, which begins Friday, will include some new food options, some of which fits the gotta-have-it-once-a-year mold. Available for the first time this year will be chicken-on-a-stick with ribbon fries, red velvet funnel cake with cream cheese topping, and a crab cake with a soft-shell crab on top of it. The ice cream options have also expanded to include more regional creameries.