The State Fair of Texas attracts more than two million people across 24 days every autumn. It’s an annual Dallas tradition that’s been going strong since 1886.
We took a closer look at the activities, excitement and traditions surrounding this massively popular all-American experience.
What’s it all about?
In short, it’s about celebrating ‘All things Texan’: food, community spirit, farming, crafts, food, college football, music – and did we mention food?
For the love of football
There’s a college football game (that’s American football, of course) right in the middle of the Fair every year. The 2019 Fair saw Red River rivals Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners take to the field in front of 100,000 spectators. The massive crowd snaked all the way through the centre of the Fair, combining the buzz of the surrounding Fair with the thrill of the football.
The prestigious Big Tex Awards have been a Fair tradition since 2005, and invite State Fair food stall owners – or ‘concessionaires’ – to put forward their fried creations for judging. It creates massive excitement around the Fair, with visitors judging many of the creations themselves – a truly communal food and drink experience.
Shortlisted creations include a Fried Oreo® Gelato Pop, Stokin-Smokin Cowboy's Bacon and Brisket Egg Roll and Deep Fried Chicken Cordon Bleu Stuffed Waffles. Drool.
And it’s not just about artery-hardening foodstuffs. There’s also awards for the best cooks, BBQ and chilli challenge winners, arts and crafts winners and youth contests.
The main stage
In 2019, the likes of Daughtry, Billy Ray Cyrus and 98 Degrees played in the Chevrolet-sponsored main stage, bringing together a vast range of musical tastes in one area.
“Who’s your target audience?” “Oh you know, everyone…”
It’s not difficult to see the appeal of the State Fair: there is without question something for everyone, whether you’re a foodie, a music lover, community champion or just enjoy a good day out. It started as a community experience, and it’s great to see that, even with the addition of awards, commercialised areas such as the Chevrolet Auto Show and sponsored stage and the like, community experience is still at the heart of the event.
Photo credit: Kevin Brown/State Fair of Texas