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7 Reasons You Don’t Want to Miss Our Texas State Fair

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Tony Maples Photography


October means the Texas State Fair is in town, and there’s still plenty of time for you to go before it ends! Pat Boone once sang a song many years ago, “Our state fair is a great state fair, don’t miss it, don’t even be late!” Those words are certainly true when it comes to The State Fair of Texas which takes place in Dallas every year.

The very first Texas state fair was held in 1886. Today, if you were to go by attendance only, then this fair is the largest in the country. With new companies choosing to make the Lone Star State their headquarters, it’s bringing in larger numbers each  year. Right now, over three million people attend annually. This year, the fair opened on Friday, September 30, 2016, and runs until Sunday, October 23, 2016.

Two pieces of advice when planning to spend the day at our fair: (1) Wear good walking shoes, and (2) Never eat before you come. Here are seven major reasons why you won’t want to miss the Texas State Fair.

1. Big Tex



Since 1952, Big Tex has been to every single one of our fairs. He’s a handsome talking 52-foot tall cowboy who welcomes everyone passing by in his booming Texan voice. If you become separated from each other, the most popular place to meet is underneath this Texas cowboy, because you can see him from anywhere.

Big Tex actually started his life in 1950 as Santa Claus in Kerens, Texas. The state fair purchased this big ole Texan for $750, and he’s been the state mascot ever since.

2. Texas Star Ferris Wheel

Texas State Fair Ferris Wheel


There is also our famous Ferris Wheel, which is the largest of its kind in the nation. It stands at 212 feet tall. You can see for  miles when you’re high in the sky. It’s absolutely gorgeous at night when it’s all lit up. Are you brave enough to ride on it?

3. Famous Fair Food



We Texans do love our fried food. The wonderful aromas as you walk through the gates to the fair are both unique and appetizing. Heck, we’ll fry up just about anything that comes our way and you’ll find it amazingly delicious.

Fletcher’s original corny dog should be first on your list of foods. It is a state fair tradition, introduced in the 1940s. No one can copy this masterful secret recipe. After you’ve sampled that, the sky’s the limit on deep fried foods: fried green tomatoes, pickles, corn fritters, and pork ribs. How about a fried peanut butter-jelly-and-banana sandwich, fried okra, chicken fried bacon — or how about an entire chicken fried Thanksgiving dinner ball? No kidding! If you can think it up, it’s probably here, has been fried up, and served!

Kegs of fresh old fashioned root beer can really hit the spot. There are so many choices of beverages, ice cream, or desserts. The choices are unending.

4. Live Music & Concerts

Texas State Fair concerts


Besides our wonderful food, nothing makes us Texans happier than listening to live music.  There’s always some great shows  going on throughout the fairgrounds.

The 2016 Texas State Fair concert lineup includes:

Monday, October 10 – Ben Rector, 5:30 p.m.
Friday, October 14 – The Peterson Brothers, 5:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 15 – Nelly, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 16 – Le Freak, 3:00 p.m. & 5:30 p.m.
Friday, October 21 – The Quebe Sisters, 5:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 22 – Colton Dixon, 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 22 – Skillet, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 23 – La Energía Norteña, 3:00 p.m.

5. The Midway

An overall view shows the fairgrounds of the Oktoberfest beer festival on September 20, 2008 at the "Theresienwiese" in Munich, southern Germany. Organisers of the world's largest folk festival running until 05 October expect up to six million visitors to enjoy Bavarian beer in huge tents and fun rides on the fairgrounds.AFP PHOTO DDP / JOERG KOCH GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read JOERG KOCH/AFP/Getty Images)


Of course, the midway has games, food, and rides — and there are many sideshows along the way. It’s just a fun place to be no matter what your age may be! By the way, there’s even a man there who will try and guess your age. Several carnival barkers line the fairgrounds to entice you to their many exhibits.

6. The Auto Show



The auto show is also a really big deal here at the fair. It takes up several buildings because every car maker wants to show off their latest models. Some of these vendors have features where you can actually do interactive activities. Look for the Centennial and Automobile buildings and in the Truck Zone area. Who doesn’t love a shiny new vehicle?

7. Competitions & Shopping

Texas State Fair Arts & Crafts

Photo: Facebook/State Fair of Texas

Not only are there so many stages showing off young talented musical artists, there are also rodeos, free pig races, dog performances, and livestock auctions. There are competitions of all types!

Markets with all types of vendors are underneath brightly colored tents, and many items are made right on the spot. Lots of booths have that one-of-a-kind item you may never find again. And, the holidays are just around the corner! You won’t want to miss this unique shopping opportunity.

Don’t forget home and craft prize-winning exhibits. There are always display shows with extra incentives at the Home and Garden area. Fair days — like a step back in time — make your plans to go, and for sure we’ll see y’all there!