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The Granddaddy of West Texas Fairs: Lubbock’s Century-Old Tradition

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Each year in Lubbock, Texas, folks kick the new season off with the South Plains Fair. It’s a beautiful tradition of miscellany; there’s fair food, fair rides, baking competitions, arts and crafts competitions, the livestock show, and more vendors than you can count with hundreds of bright stuffed animals and toys. This year is no different. The fair is in full swing this week, running through September 29, and it’s a perfect way to greet fall, which is now officially here! The South Plains Fair is not only in full swing, but one of the biggest fairs in Texas. It is fondly referred to as the “Granddaddy of West Texas Fairs,” second only to the State Fair.

The Granddaddy of West Texas Fairs: Lubbock's Century-Old Tradition

Photo: Anna Hedges

Each year the fair boasts numerous attractions, most of them free. This year the highlights include Kachunga and the Alligator, Aussie Kingdom, Rock-It the Robot, and Moto Maniacs. At Aussie Kingdom, fair-goers have the opportunity to see exotic creatures such as Swamp Wallabies, Bennett’s Wallaby, and an Albino Western Gray Kangaroo. During the Kachunga and the Alligator show, American bushmen display their skill and alligators to a crowd of curious onlookers. And, of course, there are the rides. The Reithoffer Rides include the traditional Ferris wheel and the grand carousel, family-friendly rides for little ones, and roller coasters for the adventurous. The line-up this year boasts more than thirty rides for fair-goers to choose from. These and more lend an exotic and exciting appeal to the South Plains Fair!

The Granddaddy of West Texas Fairs: Lubbock's Century-Old Tradition

Photo: Anna Hedges

This year, as I walked through the myriad colorful booths, huts, and tents, I did my best to keep up with the different deep-fried foods I saw. The list includes the usual fair staples; hot cheese, jalapenos, pickles, corn dogs, Snickers, but there were also Reese’s, Oreos, cake batter, s’mores, cheesecake, cookie dough, Suzy Q’s, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When I’m wandering through the food booths, it’s clear that the fair is community-centered. Some of the booths are hosted and curated by local churches, others by school groups, one by the Lubbock Firefighters. The South Plains Fair is unique in its efforts to give back to the Lubbock community; that’s why most of the food vendors are local rather than professional. And it gives back in more ways than one; just look at this deep-fried cookie dough. Absolutely delicious!

The Granddaddy of West Texas Fairs: Lubbock's Century-Old Tradition
Photo: Anna Hedges

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