If you are from Texas, you know that the state fair is a big deal. The saying goes: everything in Texas is bigger and better, and it would be right. It is such a big deal, that Texas public schools get a whole day off from school and a free ticket to attend it. According to Readers.com, the State Fair of Texas is the largest in the United States, over 2 million attend each year. The fair that we know and love today is not exactly how it has always been.
The State Fair of Texas was not always meant to be a massive state fair. It began as a private event for businessmen. When the directors could not decide on a location, they created separate events. Both of their events attracted large crowds, but they did not create enough revenue. After they merged, their crowds grew exceptionally, but their problems did not end. Multiple fires started in different ways causing a lot of damage, and then in 1903 Texas banned gambling on horse races. This took away a lot of the fair’s profits. The Texas State Fair was forced to sell its property to the city of Dallas. They were able to bounce back and began to flourish in the coming years. The racetrack was turned into the Cotton Bowl, and the Texas-OU game was set to always be during fair season. Elvis Presley performed at the Cotton Bowl, Vice President Richard Nixon made an appearance and in 1985 Eddie Robinson led his Grambling Tigers to victory over Prairie View. This named him the highest winning coach in college football. In 1949, the state fair had its first attendance of 2 million. Shortly after, Big Tex found his forever home.
“Howdy folks, this is Big Tex!” Big Tex is a state fair icon. He is the face and voice of the fair. We have all come to know and love Big Tex and his classic greeting. He first began attracting guests in Kerens, Texas, shortly after World War II. However, he was not always “Big Tex.” His days in Kerens were spent as a 49-feet tall Santa Claus. Eventually, he stopped attracting guests to the local stores of Kerens, but the folks at the state fair thought he would be perfect for their event. Big Tex made his debut in Dallas during the opening of the 1952 fair. He had some cosmetic surgery done to make him more appealing to audiences. Big Tex was made to look more like a cowboy. In his 65 years, he has made movie appearances, celebrated the 100th birthday of Texas and his very own 50th birthday. Many of us remember 2012 when Big Tex caught on fire. It was a sad day for Texans as we watched him go up in flames. However, he made a come back in 2013.
One of the most popular and unique attractions of the state fair is fried food. The State Fair of Texas has found a way to fry almost everything. From the classic fried chicken to fried desserts like Oreos and s’mores. This year, many new foods were introduced. “Deep Fried Energy Bites,” are a “healthier” option among all the grease. They are made up of peanut butter, chocolate, honey, oats, and coconut. Next up we have, “Deep Fried Chicken Cordon Bleu Stuffed Waffles.” The named pretty much sums it up. If you like chicken and waffles, or chicken cordon bleu, this might be something you want to try. There are plenty of options for those who have a sweet tooth. “Deep Fried Nutella Custard Stuffed French Toast,” it is a mouth full, and a mouth-watering dish.
This is a french toast sandwich filled with Nutella and topped with vanilla custard and fruits. The state fair has a niche for creating unthinkable combinations. The “Champagne Jello Hot Shot,” is a prime example. Usually, Jello shots are made with liquor, but this one uses classy champagne. It is chilled in watermelon Jello, with a jalapeno slice on top. You have heard of ice cream in a cone, but what about chicken in a cone? This year at the state fair you can get fried popcorn chicken in a waffle cone. There are also choices of sauces that can be drizzled on top. If you are 21, alcohol comes in many forms at the state fair. There is a Wine Garden for those that want to sit back, relax and enjoy award-winning wine. Texas is hot, so if you want to cool off, grab a wine pop. Maybe you want to feel like you are at the beach, grab a drink in a half-cut pineapple topped fresh with fruit. Of course, there are plenty of beers to choose from, both locally brewed and imported.
Everyone can feel like a kid again at the Midway. It includes carnival games, rides and the iconic Ferris wheel. The “Texas Star Ferris Wheel” is the official Ferris wheel of the state fair and it stands 212ft high. This is a ride that everyone should enjoy at least once in their lifetime. There are also attractions like the “Top O’ Texas Tower,” “Texas Skyway,” “Dentzel Carousel” and the “Sparkletts Log Flume.” The “Top O’ Texas Tower” stands 500ft tall, giving guests wide views of downtown Dallas. The “Texas Skyway” are gondolas that carry people through the Texas sky on a 1,800 aerial track. The tickets that buy you food and rides, can also get you on the Midway rides. In order to play the games, guests will need to purchase a game card. The State Fair of Texas is moving into the 21st century.
The State Fair of Texas starts September 27 and ends October 20. People from all over Texas and surrounding states come to see what makes this the largest state fair in the United States. Make your to Fair Park to experience the games, food, rides, petting zoo, wine tasting, live music, car shows and last but not least, Big Tex.
Go enjoy the state fair the Texas way! Tell us about favorite event or food at the fair in the comments.
Featured Image from Lifehack via Pinterest
I am a junior at UNT. I transferred from Tyler Junior College, with an associates in Journalism. I am majoring in Broadcast Journalism and minoring in Sociology. This is my first time writing for a lifestyle blog. Before I wrote for a student publication news paper. I am excited to write for Society19!