Sunday, October 6, 2013

Football, Fun and Fried Everything: It's State Fair Time in Texas

Now that's a view.  The Dallas skyline as seen through the Texas Star, the largest ferris wheel in North
America.  Built in 
Italy and located on the grounds of Fair Park in Dallas, the Texas Star is 212 feet high
and can carry up to 264 
passengers in its 44 gondolas.  It is one of the most popular attractions at
the State Fair of Texas.  Photograph courtesy of
They say everything's bigger in Texas, and that certainly goes for its State Fair. The State Fair of Texas, running from September 27 to October 20, 2013, is the largest state fair in the United States by total attendance (over 2.5 million in 2012.)  An annual 24-day fall extravaganza of football, fun and fried everything, the State Fair of Texas has been entertaining fairgoers in a big way for 127 years.


Those with a current TWU ID (including students and staff and faculty members) can purchase discounted tickets (General Admission, $13.50; Senior Adults (60 and over), $11.00; Children (Under 48 inches, $11.00)) at the Student Union Office (SU 209) on the Denton campus of TWU.  Questions?  Call the Student Union Office at 940-898-3641.  Tickets at regular prices
as well as other types of ticket discounts, are available at the gate.  Park for $15 in official State Fair lots; valet parking for $30 is also available.

1)  Drive and park; or
2)  for an easy, economical and eco-friendly way to get to the fair, take the DART Rail Green Line to either of two stations--the Fair Park Station, located on Parry Avenue at the entrance to the fairgrounds; or the MLK Jr. Station, located south of R.B. Cullum Blvd. and convenient to the MLK fairground entrance (Gate 6) and the Cotton Bowl Stadium. Traveling from Denton?  From the Downtown Denton Transit Center (604 E. Hickory, near City Hall East) take the A-train and transfer to DART's Green Line at Trinity Mills.  To purchase DART tickets on the go, download the new, free GoPass Mobile Ticketing App for Apple or Android smartphones.  Find DART fare and pass information here.  Other DART questions?  Call them at 214-979-1111 or visit the DARTsite.
For parking and fairground maps, a diagram of the Cotton Bowl and much more, go to

Howdy, folks!  I need some help with my boots, y'all.  One of Big Tex's size 96 boots is lifted into
at the State Fair of Texas on Wednesday, September 11, 2013.  Each boot weighs over 900 lbs.
in the flames of an electrical fire in 2012, the 52-foot-tall icon of the State Fair of Texas was
rebuilt by SRO 
Associates, a San Antonio-area company that builds giant set pieces.  It took 10 months,
dozens of workers 
and half a million dollars, but the new Big Tex was installed in the dead of night in
time for the opening 
of the 
2013 State Fair of Texas.  Dallas GuideLIVE.  Photograph by Tom Fox,
GuideLIVE staff photographer.  
September 11, 2013.
Texas does things in a big way, and the State Fair of Texas is no different.  As sure as bluebonnets bloom in the spring, you 
will run out of time and energy before you run out of things to see and do at the fair. From North America's largest ferris wheel to fried and other foods; a parade to pig races; rides to livestock, garden shows, Big Tex, the Texas-OU game, celebrity chefs, Birds of the World, an auto show, live music, gondola rides and on and on, the State Fair of Texas has something for everyone and then some. For a complete listing be sure to pick up a Visitor Guide as you enter the fair or from one of the Information Booths located on the fairgrounds.

Since the State Fair of Texas has been around for over a century, it probably comes as no surprise that its history has been as colorful as a field of Texas wildflowers.

Siamese twins Millie and Christine were billed as Millie Christine, the two-headed woman.
As the high point of Magicians' Day, Harry Houdini addressed a large grandstand audience on the topic "Can the Dead Speak to the Living?" After the lecture, he entertained the crowd by wriggling out of a strait jacket while hanging upside down.
Workmen set up Big Tex for his appearance in the movie State Fair, but winds from Hurricane Carla tore his clothes and the film crew was forced to shoot around him until repairs could be made.

1970  Big Tex’s 150-pound shirt, still in a box, was stolen from the back of a pickup truck. While police searched for the thieves, the Lee company worked to create another size 90 shirt, which was applied to Tex just nine hours before the gates opened.
1988  Al Capone's bulletproof limo was featured at the fair.

For more, see Quiz Your Friends With These 125 Facts About the State Fair of Texas from the Dallas Morning News' GuideLIVE (September 30, 2011).  For an illustrated overview of its history, see the State Fair of Texas timeline.

For library resources on the State Fair of Texas--including articles, illustrated histories, cookbooks, children's books and more--just use TWUniversal Search (look for the maroon box with the magnifying glass) from the TWU Libraries homepage.


~Sandy Cochran

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