The Texas State Fair is getting underway.

There are some big names playing music onstage; there are rides and rodeos, they even have an aquarium.

And, of course, 55 foot tall Big Tex is on hand to welcome everyone.

But let’s face it: a lot of people skip all that stuff and go straight for the fried food.

And no one has made more of a spectacle out of deep fried fair food that Abel Gonzales Jr., also known as “Fried Jesus.”

Gonzales’s dad ran a restaurant.

It was such hard work, it was pretty much all he did – except when it was time for the Texas State Fair, which was a huge deal to the whole family.

And that stuck with Gonzales.

As an adult, he worked a 9 to 5 job as a computer programmer, but realized he wanted to find a way to work at the fair instead.

So he started tinkering with recipes that might go over well with fairgoers.

In 2005, he found one.

That’s the year the fair announced the Big Tex Choice Awards, to encourage concession stands to create new and unusual recipes.

Gonzales won after creating a deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

He’s also won for his deep fried Coke, deep fried cookie dough, deep fried butter and deep fried jambalaya.

And while Gonzales isn’t the only deep frying innovator out there, you can see his influence at fairs all over the country.

Deep fried novelties are everywhere today.

They’re so popular that Gonzales has been featured on reality TV shows, and he’s opened several restaurants in Dallas.

No, the menu isn’t all just deep fried stuff, but he says he has at least one of his signature fair foods for sale just in case.

He wouldn’t be called “Fried Jesus” if he didn’t, right?

The Comedy Pet Photo Awards have announced this year’s winners.

The top prize went to a photo of two cats just as they bonked heads.

There’s also a dog driving a car, an alpaca that looks like it has a cigar in its mouth, and a cat grabbing an iPhone as if it was making taking an important call.

Or maybe it was listening to this show?

I Believe I Can Fry (Texas Monthly)

Who is Fried Jesus, Dallas restaurant owner? Abel Gonzales’ new nickname is the Texican (Dallas Morning News)

Cats, Dogs, and a Smoking Alpaca Win Pet Photo Awards (Treehugger)

Our Patreon backers are award winners

Photo by blueorder via Flickr/Creative Commons