October 31, 2013 by
State fairs are as American as baseball, jazz, and SUVs. They started out as a way for farmers and their families to have a fun day out and to show off their best produce, livestock, foods, and handicrafts as well as a way for the surrounding communities to come together.
For me, the State Fair of Texas is a rite of passage for anyone who grew up here. It started in 1886 in Dallas as a private venture but was sold to the city of Dallas in 1904. It was the first state fair (beginning in 1913) to feature an auto show as a permanent exhibition.
A sweet 2014 Corvette at the 91st year of the car show at the Sate Fair of Texas
And, legend has it that the corn dog was invented by Carl & Neil Fletcher for the fair in 1938.
Fletcher’s Corny Dogs. Always next to Big Tex near the midway. Legend has it that the Fletcher Brothers invented the corny dog in 1938. The queues are crazy long.
The Fair is held every year in the beautiful Fair Park. In 1986, it was included on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a historic landmark. The buildings in Fair Park were built for the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936. They’ve undergone substantial restoration over the years and the facades are back to their original Art Deco magnificence.
One of the statues at Fair Park that was sculpted for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition.
One of the Art Deco facades at Fair Park. They’ve undergone extensive restoration over the years.
And, then, there’s Big Tex. The State Fair mascot since 1952.
Big Tex. He burned down last year due to an electrical fire. But he’s back in all his glory. The video of him burning last year is on YouTube.
A slightly weird butter sculpture of Big Tex.
Of course, what state fairs are now best known for are their midway foods. And the crazier the better. Especially in the frialated arts. Deep fried Coke, butter, bacon, Oreos, lemonade, candy bars, and sliders are just a few of the foods that have succumbed to batter and hot oil. Texas is no exception. In fact, it’s led the way.
In short, it’s a day to forget the diet and cholesterol count and just indulge. Just be sure to walk everywhere. It’ll assuage the guilt a little.
I went to the fair this year with my husband, Steve; my dad; and my nephews. I haven’t been since Steve & I began dating – 21 years ago. The band we saw: the Texas Tornadoes. They were supporting their first album.
Now, we didn’t get to try the deep-fried butter. The queue was of epic proportions.
The fried butter queue. The photo doesn’t capture the craziness. It not only stretched from the front of the stand, but wrapped around the back on both sides.
No deep-fried Coke, either. We couldn’t find it.
The big taste-test winner was “Deep Fried Thanksgiving Dinner”. We didn’t try that either. Basically none of us could quite bring ourselves to try it. Not sure why.
However, we did eat our fair share of deep-fried goodies and meats in tube form.
Husband Steve with his corny dog.
Dad with his corny dog. It was the one thing he insisted we stop for.
Nephew the Younger enjoying his Sausage on a Stick. I had one, too. Nephew the Elder had a corny dog. (He was too wily for me to get a photo of him. I’m surprised I got a photo of this guy. Admittedly, the photo doesn’t do him justice.)
Nephew the Elder was all about the deep fried sweets. This is cheesecake. I had a bite. I liked it in spite of myself.
Deep Fried Frito Pie. As a group, we enjoyed this so much we bought it twice.
Probably the 2nd healthiest thing eaten all day. Sausage on a bun with mustard and sauerkraut.
Deep. Fried. Bacon.
Deep fried Oreos. Another thing we bought twice. Yeah. They were delicious.
Deep fried mac & cheese. This was singularly awful. Steve & I each had one bite and threw it in the garbage.
This was the healthiest thing all day. Dad’s corn on the cob. And it still had some butter on it. He stopped them from dipping it in even more butter.
What Nephew the Elder had been searching for since we walked in the gate. Deep Fried Snickers. He didn’t share it. Probably just as well.
My personal favorite. Fried Chicken Skin. Damn. It was good. I only shared because I couldn’t beat the guys off with one hand.
During and after all that eating, we did walk around the Midway. No rides, though. All of us, except Nephew the Younger, decided that we wouldn’t be able to make it without, well…, you know.
i think they’ve had this same sign at least since I was a kid.
Yeah… There was no way we were getting on this.
The darkening skies over the fair.
A few more sights from the Fair:
A group of Filipino dancers in front of the Dallas Historical Society building. The dance was about a princess lost in the forest during an earthquake. The prince comes to rescue her.
A kinda creepy robot at the Auto Show.
Cotton candy stand. 100% cotton candy. My teeth hurt just looking at this.
Elsie the Cow. Almost made me sorry I eat beef. Almost.
Just a section of the wall of ribbon winners.
Looking down the Midway.
A few of Dallas’ finest. And their riders, too. These gentlemen were very popular photographic subjects. Hence my angle.
The famous Cotton Bowl. It has been in continuous operation since 1930. That day, Grambling State & Prairie View A&M played. I thought about buying a ticket just so I could see Grambling’s band.
I hope you all enjoyed this little journey through the State Fair of Texas.
See you soon.