This past weekend we headed to Dallas to experience something I hadn’t seen since I was a kid: the State Fair of Texas. Getting to once again experience the magic of Big Tex, Fair food, and all the other excitement of the Fair was pretty spectacular, and I had a blast sharing it with the hubby, who had never been.
We arrived at the fair slightly before noon, and having purchased our tickets online in advance, we were able to walk right in without ever standing in line. After taking the obligatory photo with Big Tex…
…our first stop was the Tower Building Food Court, where we sampled some of the finalists from the 2017 Big Tex Choice Awards.
We tried the Crawfish Lollipop (which was sort of like a deep-fried crawfish etouffe), the fried Cajun Deviled Eggs (slightly less delicious; more along the lines of fried egg salad with a heft dose of cayenne), and the “Fried El Paso,” which consisted of three pork chile rellenos atop fried tortillas with a trio of sauces. The “Fried El Paso” was definitely my favorite, and with bellies full, we set off to see all the other things the fair had to offer.
And man was there a lot to see! We stopped by the many car shows (both the “official” Texas Auto Show, to see the latest models from regular automakers, and the more interesting — in my opinion at least — Classics Corral. On this day, the Classics Corral was populated with members of the Dallas Mustang Club, and you could literally see every color of Mustang in the rainbow!
We also strolled through the Creative Arts Pavillon, where we glimpsed thousands of submissions of handmade arts and crafts, alongside celebrity chef demonstrations. While we were there, former Top Chef Competitor John Tesar was sharing a recipe from his Dallas restaurant Knife. And, somewhat inexplicably, there was also this gigantic 1,000+ pound sculpture of a reimagined Mount Rushmore (featuring a NASA Astronaut, and other no-name Texans, apparently.) Even more odd? It was apparently carved by a vegan.
And of course, the hubby, being a former 4H kid himself, was not going to rest until he dragged us through the livestock barns to see some of the judging. There were animals a-plenty at the livestock barns, but perhaps none as grandiose as this giant 1,200+ pound boar named Boris that had his own special display pen.
Around this time, we were starting to get a bit thirsty, so we hit up a few more of the fair specialty beers in the Magnolia Beer Garden. We tried the Oreo Beer (pretty gross), Strawberry Belgian Waffle Wit (pretty good), and as pictured below, the Smoky Bacon Margarita (definitely a pass), and the Funnel Cake Beer (like a Guinness topped with powdered sugar).
Of course, the hubby had still other beverages in mind, and went to find himself a giant pina colada from “The Pineapple Man” stand.
Revitalized, we headed out again as there was still more to see. We took in a show of the “Lone Star Stampede” at the Pan-Am Arena. This included horse trick riding and show roping, along with a true “cattle drive” of about 10 actual Texas Longhorn cattle. The show was fun and lighthearted, and at 20 minutes, just right for young attention spans.
Additionally, we enjoyed the festive fall garden beds spread all over the Fairgrounds, featuring a number of native Texas plants and vegetables. How come my attempts to grow pumpkins never turn out this well?!
We made a few more stops, visiting the Texas Wine Garden, getting the hubby a Fletcher’s Corny Dog, and walking around the shopping stands before we called it a day. Of course, had we wanted to there was more than enough that could have kept us entertained for another full day as well: we didn’t even dip our toe into the world of midway rides or the “Texas in the First World War” museum exhibit, and there were plenty more fried goodies and weird beverages to sample as well.
All in all, we had a great day at the Fair, and I’d highly encourage a trip if you haven’t been before, or were like me and hadn’t been since you were a kid. There’s just nothing like saying Howdy to Big Texas himself!
The State Fair of Texas takes place in Dallas, Texas from September 29th – October 22nd, 2017. A daily schedule of events can be found here.