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2014 STATE FAIR OF TEXAS
September 26 - October 19

The State Fair of Texas 2014 Big Tex Choice Awards This Year With Beer. 

The Texas State Fair, located in Dallas, Texas in what is now called Fair Park, the fairgrounds originally built for the 1936 Texas Centennial celebrating the founding of the Republic of Texas. One of the world's largest collections of Art Deco style buildings was built to house much of the Centennial and remains a focal point of the current State Fair of Texas. Although, unlike back in 1936, these buildings now host a huge auto show.

The Texas State Fair is the Biggest State Fair in the United States. Fair Park is used year around with museums, an aquarium and exhibition halls. The Texas State Fair features a huge Midway carnival zone, likely the biggest anywhere, the Western Hemisphere's tallest Ferris Wheel and the Cotton Bowl,

Scroll down for a look at the Texas State Fair, including the Midway, Big Tex, the Texas Skyway, the Texas Star (with Eyes on Texas video of the Midway, Big Tex, the new Skyway and the Texas Star) plus cars. a lot of people and some uniquely Texas food that you probably won't want the recipe for.

Click here for a map and directions to the State Fair of Texas

Visit our Eyes on Texas Blog to make a comment or share info about the State Fair of Texas

2014 BIG TEX CHOICE AWARDS

The State Fair of Texas 2014 Big Tex Choice Awards This Year With Beer. 

Watch our Big Tex & Midway Texas State Fair Video

THE TEXAS STATE FAIR MIDWAY WITH BIG TEX
Big Tex at the Texas State Fair in Dallas looking at a car.

  click a thumbnail to view a photo 

It would appear even BIG TEX is fed up with there being way too many cars on display and the BIG GUY seems to be going into TOTAL TEXILLA mode to crush a PT Cruiser wannabe which seems to be ready to launch itself towards the BIG GUY  for no valid reason. BIG TEX may also be cranky because none of the car purveyors apparently wanted to supply him with a car built to his special needs.

A message about Big Tex from his website: Our beloved 52-ft icon, Big Tex, was damaged by fire in October. Countless fairgoers have expressed a desire to join in our efforts to recondition him to his past glory. Donations are now being accepted. Your gift will serve as a lasting means to help rebuild, maintain and preserve the future of Big Tex. Mail to Big Tex Fund, State Fair of Texas, P.O. Box 150009, Dallas, TX 75315 

The backside of Big Tex at the Texas State Fair in Dallas standing above the crowd of Texas fairgoers. You can tell from this photo that BIG TEX enjoys walking among the crowds. BIG TEX got some wardrobe updating with a new pair of Dickie's jeans, custom made to comfortably cover his large rear and long legs. The jeans were ordered boot cut to fit his new Justin boots. And then after Dickie's went to all that trouble BIG TEX decided to stuff the jeans into the boots. When TEX saw the new boots he likely realized he wanted to show them off, not cover them up with his new jeans. We'll see if we can find a photo of those humongous boots when he is not surrounded by throngs of admirers blocking a clear view of his huge foundation. BIG TEX ran up a laundry bill of over $600 this year getting all spruced up for the fair. 
The Big Boots of Big Tex at the Texas State Fair. The BIG BOOTS of BIG TEX, from world famous boot maker, Justin Boots, at least that is what we read in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, not always a reliable source for such info. We can find no other confirmation of Justin Boots being the makers of the BIG TEX boots. But who else would have made them? You don't find plus sizes like this at your local Super Wal-Mart, the plus-sized Dickie's, maybe, but not boots this big.
The State Fair of Texas has been held at Dallas Fair Park since 1886. Big Tex, a 52 ft tall cowboy, has been the symbol of the Texas State Fair since his introduction in 1952.
Click here for a map and directions to the State Fair of Texas
Looking across Leonhardt Lagoon towards the Texas Star Ferris Wheel at the State Fair of Texas. This blue lagoon is called  Leonhardt Lagoon. The Dallas Aquarium, the Museum of Nature and Science with its "Baseball as America" exhibit, the Natural History Museum, Texas Discovery Gardens with its $3 display of butterflies and the Band Shell with the Kroger sponsored Birds of the World Show. But looking more fun than any of that are the Swans you can float around the lagoon on, propelled by your own pedal power.

For more information about the Dallas Fair Park Museums
and other year round attractions click here.

The Midway sign at the State Fair of Texas. Heading into the Texas State Fair Midway from the northern entry. 
Crowd gridlock at the State Fair of Texas. We had not experienced such extreme human gridlock since October 1986 at the Vancouver World's Fair. And now on another Saturday in October, 21 years later we experienced almost as great a crush of humanity slowly toiling its way through some sections of the Texas State Fair. The fair broke records this year.
The Texas Skyway gondola ride and the Texas Star in the Midway at the Texas State Fair in Dallas. After visiting Big Tex we walk back into the Midway from the western entrance with the Texas Skyway above and the Texas Star ahead..
A closeup look at a gondola on the Texas Skyway at the Texas State Fair. The Texas Skyway, that is a new gondola ride sponsored by Mrs. Bairds, the nice lady who makes some really really good bread in Texas, who put her logo on the bottom of each Skyway Gondola for the reading pleasure of fair goers looking upward.
A Texas Skyway Gondola high above sponsor Mrs. Baird's ad at the Midway at the Texas State Fair. Mrs. Bairds also put up clever signs like the one you see here saying "MRS. BAIRDS INVITES YOU TO THE TEXAS SKYWAY. SOAR FROM ONE DEEP FRIED END OF THE FAIR TO THE OTHER". More accurately the Texas Skyway soars about 1,800 feet, from one end of the Midway to the other.

Click here for a map and directions to the State Fair of Texas

The Texas Skyway is not the Texas State Fair's first gondola ride. Until 1979 Fair Park had a gondola ride called the Swiss Skyride. On the last day of the fair in 1979, 2 gondolas fell 85 feet, crashing onto the Midway, leaving 85 people dangling for hours in 39 gondolas, injuring people in the gondolas and people on the ground, including one woman who was left a paraplegic with a $3.1 million settlement.
Walking along the Texas State Fair Midway with the Texas Skyway above and the Texas Star Ferris Wheel in the distance. A view of the Texas Skyway heading towards the Texas Star. The Texas Star is 212 feet tall. It is sometimes claimed it is the tallest in the Western Hemisphere. Other claims have it being the tallest in North America. It is not known what Ferris Wheel in either Central or South America might be taller. Research was unable to locate another tall Ferris Wheel in the Western Hemisphere, so it would seem the correct claim would be that the Texas Star is the tallest Ferris Wheel in North, Central and South America. And all outlying islands, including Hawaii.
The Texas Star Ferris Wheel at the Texas State Fair in Dallas. Another circular ride appears to almost collide with the Texas Star. It made one a bit dizzy looking up at these two spinning. 
A closer look at the gondolas on the Texas Star Ferris Wheel. A closer look at the Texas Star gondolas.
An extreme close up of a Texas Star Gondola at the Texas State Fair. An even closer look at a Texas Star gondola with a passenger looking back at us.

The Texas State Fair Midway has some 70 rides and shows. When darkness falls the Midway Lights are turned on with a Vegas type 4 minute light show of synchronized lights and loud music creating sensory overload all along the Midway. The Midway Lights erupts on the hour starting at 7.

Tragedy struck the State Fair of Texas in 1955 when one of the Texas Star's gondola cars, filled with students from the Memphis, Texas High School marching band, broke loose from the top of the ferris wheel, crashing to the ground, resulting in the death of one of the Memphis teenagers.
Click here for a map and directions to the State Fair of Texas
The Crazy Mouse Ride at the Midway of the Texas State Fair. The Crazy Mouse in various iterations has been a carnival staple for decades. This 21st Century version would seem to have little resemblance to the last century's Crazy Mouse. This Crazy Mouse spins in addition to moving quickly up and down over a convoluted roller coaster. It looked fun. 
One of the Extreme Rides at the Texas State Fair. Now, this section of rides did not look fun. They looked scary. The screams from the riders sounded like screams of people in mortal danger. Just standing on the ground and looking up at these rides was difficult and seemed dangerous, almost like a free thrill ride and all you had to do was try to stand securely and look up at it.
Another Extreme Ride at the Texas State Fair with the Texas Star in the background. Another view of this torture device with the Texas Star in the background. Each arm of this 'ride' had several people stuck on the ends, strapped in with feet dangling as the arms rotate at high speed, while the thing you are strapped into also spins. And then it reverses.
Another look at one of the rides called X-treme Experiences in the Midway Thrillway at the Texas State Fair. These 2 spinning rides you've seen here are part of what the Midway calls X-treme Experiences in the Midway Thrillway. There are 4 of these type extreme experiences. The other 2 are bungee cord derivatives. In on people are put in a cage like thing and then lifted high and dropped. The other appeared to be more like a sling shot were the thrill seekers are lifted high and then let go to fly through the air in a Superman manner. 

Almost all the rides in the Midway appeared to extreme for our delicate sensibilities. We could probably handle the Texas Star, the Texas Skyway and the vintage 1914 Dentzel Carousel. Maybe. That Carousel seemed to go pretty fast and it had a lot of up and down action to compound the going around in circles motion.

The World's Largest Traveling Reptile Show at the Texas State Fair. The WORLD'S LARGEST TRAVELING REPTILE SHOW. Three bucks to see some venomous snakes. We saw enough venomous snakes for a lifetime at the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup, no need to spend 3 dollars to see some more. That and snakes are scary.
TEXAS STATE FAIR SHOPPING & EXHIBITS
Click here for a map and directions to the State Fair of Texas
The Trinity Railway Express (TRE) providing transportation to the Texas State Fair in Dallas. Convenient, semi-comfortable train transit provided by the TRE (Trinity Railway Express), the commuter rail connecting Dallas to Fort Worth, runs from the fair's remote parking lots to the closest entry gate. One change from the last time we visited the fair, obviously a pre 9/11 visit, now security checks you out with an electronic wand before you can enter the park. You don't have to take your shoes off, but you do have to remove things that set off the beeper, just like airport security. We had a backpack stuffed with liquid, cameras and assorted other things. Unlike an airport security check we did not have to remove the cameras from their cases.
A map of the Texas State Fairgrounds. You can use the map on the left to plot your path for your day at the fair. You will need to use your scroll bars to see the entire map. Or a simpler plan might be to wait til you get to the fair. Upon entry, after you are searched and probed with an electronic device you will be handed an information booklet with maps and lists of what there is to see and do at the Texas State Fair.
A wine garden at the Texas State Fair featuring Texas wines.

A tiny wine garden featuring Texas wines. Unlike some wine gardens this was not a free sample zone, however for a coupon or two you could get an ounce or two of wine in a little plastic thimble-sized cup.

The Texas Monthly Mercantile inside the Food and Fiber Pavilion at the Texas State Fair. Every fair we've ever attended has had plenty of things to buy. The Texas State Fair is no exception, however this fair seems to be way more of a shopping opportunity than any fair we've previously visited, including what amounted to basically full fledge stores in several of the pavilions, such as this store, Texas Monthly Mercantile, inside the Food and Fiber Pavilion.
The Food and Fiber Pavilion on Nimitz drive at the Texas State Fair. The Food and Fiber Pavilion is on a street called Nimitz Drive. Across the street from the Food and Fiber Pavilion is the Embarcadero, which is a fancy name for another pavilion where you can buy things, like fudge. Or a Vita-Mix. We have never been to a fair where you did not have at least one opportunity to buy a Vita-Mix.
A Shopping Guide Map showing you where to shop at the State Fair of Texas. Click the SHOPPING GUIDE Map to see locations and descriptions of all the shopping opportunities at the Texas State Fair. You will need to use your scroll bars to travel all around the map.
Mundo Latino performers at the Texas Hall of State at the State Fair of Texas. Performing in front of the Texas Hall of State, a Latina group, as part of a new exhibit called Mundo Latino, a look at the history and music of matadors, using exhibits and live entertainment, like we see here, with the Latinas looking a bit like belly dancers. We are pretty sure there is no bull fighting in the Middle East. 
The State Fair of Texas has the highest number of visitors of all the state fairs in the United States, attracting over 3 million visitors during its 24 day run. It is estimated that the fair brings in about $350 million dollars to the Dallas economy.

Click here for a map and directions to the State Fair of Texas

Walking into the Great Hall of the Texas Hall of State at the State Fair of Texas. Now we are walking up the staircase to the Great Hall of the Texas Hall of State. There are 3 story tall murals on our left and right depicting Texas history, but all all we are seeing is straight ahead a large video screen that is showing what amounts to being advertisements for American Airlines and the Dallas department store, Neiman Marcus. Go to the official website of the Great Hall of Texas for more info.
The Butter Sculpture in the Creative Arts Pavilion at the State Fair of Texas. Every year the Texas State Fair features a very large sculpture made from butter. This year the Butter Sculpture was of several farm animals in a hot air balloon. The Butter Sculpture is in a refrigerated enclosure and rotates constantly so viewers can see all sides of the butter. The Butter Sculpture is in the Creative Arts Pavilion where you can also find the Celebrity Chef and the Showcase Theater which was featuring a puppet show when we were in the building. We did not go see the puppets.
Blue Ribbon winners in the Creative Arts Pavilion at the State Fair of Texas. This cute pair of slightly older fair visitors are also sitting in the Creative Arts Pavilion, along with the Butter Sculpture. Grandpa is doing some whittling while Grandma works on her black-eyed peas. Grandpa must be a very good whittler because he got a Blue Ribbon. We may be prejudiced regarding Grandma, but we think granny deserves a Blue Ribbon too. She is so darn cute.
TEXAS STATE FAIR AUTO SHOW
Art Deco pavilions from the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition at the State Fair of Texas. Looking west towards the Centennial Buildings, built for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition, the Centennial Buildings consist of 2 rows of art deco style pavilions facing each other across a water way called the Esplande. During our previous visit to the Texas State Fair, earlier in this century, the Esplande was the location of our favorite part of the fair, that being an elaborate multi-media show sponsored by TXU Energy. But no such show graced the current fair. Instead the Esplande was turned into some sort of overflow parking lot for cars. Cars seemed also to have totally, for the most part, taken over much of the Fair, including, it seemed, the majority of space in the Centennial Buildings. During our first fair visit only one of these buildings was a car lot, the others had interesting exhibits. So many cars on display in so many buildings and so many outside locations seemed quite odd in a Metro area teeming with huge car dealerships one could visit whenever one wanted to, without paying a $14.50 admission fee and $10.00 to park.
Vehicles in the lagoon by the Centennial Buildings at the State Fair of Texas.
Here we see 3 of the cars parked on the Esplande waterway. In the distance you can see part of the downtown Dallas skyline.

The State Fair of Texas Auto Show Map on the right will show you in detail that extent to which vehicles of all makes and models have taken over large swatches of State Fairgrounds Territory. 

More vehicles in the State Fair of Texas lagoon. Now we are looking the opposite direction, past the vehicles in the water towards the Texas Hall of State. 
The State Fair of Texas Auto Show. In case a visitor did not realize they were at the State Fair of Texas Auto Show, this sign on the side of one of the Centennial Buildings made it real clear. The Texas State Fair is all about cars. For the most part. Or so it would seem.
Texas, an American Revolution at the State Fair of Texas. Outside we found more car related material, such as this band singing cover songs under a sign announcing Texas is an American Revolution welcoming owners of Camaros and Firebirds. Why? We could not help but wonder.
The Ford Truck zone at the State Fair of Texas. More car related advertising, this one appears to be Ford truck related.
A pair of Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders working for Ford at the State Fair of Texas. You might think these 2 Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders are not a car related item, but you would be wrong, even though they were signing autographs on a photo of the Dallas Cowboy team, this was part of the Ford truck advertising operation.
Click here for a map and directions to the State Fair of Texas
Traditionally, one of the centerpieces of the Texas State Fair has been the annual college football game between Texas and Oklahoma, nicknamed "The Red River Rivalry" and played in the Cotton Bowl at Fair Park. (The Red River separates Texas from Oklahoma. Texans sometimes get cranky at Yankees and advise them to get themselves back north of the Red River.) The Red River Rivalry in the Cotton Bowl will soon be history. It will become the Red River Rivalry in the Dallas Cowboy Stadium in Arlington. It is rumored that the Cotton Bowl will also no longer be played in the Cotton Bowl once the new Cowboy Stadium is finished. It is not known if the game will still be called the Cotton Bowl or if it will become the Cowboy Bowl. Or maybe the Arlington Bowl.
Buying coupons in front of the Cotton Bowl at the State Fair of Texas. A pair of fairgoers, near the Cotton Bowl, deciding how many coupons they need so that they can buy themselves some Grilled Gator and Fried PBJ and B with a Fried Coke chaser. United States legal tender is not allowed to be directly used for the purchase of food or Midway rides. Coupons cost 50 cents each. You can not get a refund for unused coupons, but you can bring them back to subsequent fairs and use them, unless a large theft of leftover coupons occurs, which happened a couple years ago, rendering all coupons null and void. So, the wisest policy is likely to purchase only as many coupons as you need and to use them all up. Or maybe the actual wisest policy is to do what we did, as in we brought in our own food and drink in a backpack and we stayed off all the scary Midway rides. We're too old for them anyway. Except the new Skyway ride did look tempting. But it took an awful lot of coupons to get onboard that ride.
TEXAS STATE FAIR FOOD

The State Fair of Texas 2014 Big Tex Choice Awards This Year With Beer. 

Davy Crockett looking over a Frito Pie booth at the State Fair of Texas. There are a few statues of iconic Texas heroes near the Texas Hall of State. Here we see Davy Crockett looking at the back of booths selling things like Frito Pie and French Crepes cooked by actual French chefs. Davy Crockett likely did not imagine such an honor 171 years ago when he was busy at the Alamo fighting for Texas.
Grilled Alligator & Alligator Ribs at the State Fair of Texas. Yum. A Taste of New Orleans. Some of the tasty treats you can get here are Grilled Alligator, Alligator Kabobs and Fried Ribs. We do not know if the Fried Ribs are Alligator Ribs. Or what they are friend in.
You can get Fried Peanut Butter, Jam and Banana, Fried Coke, and Fried Cookie Dough at the State Fair of Texas. It appears this lady of obvious good taste had to look away from the Fried Peanut Butter, Jam and Banana, the Fried Coke and the Fried Cookie Dough. These rare delicacies only cost 10 coupons. That's 5 bucks to you who are used to prices being stated in dollars.
On October 11, 1956, a 21 year old Elvis Presley performed at the Texas State Fair with 26,000 teenagers attending breaking all attendance records for an outdoor concert in Texas. Elvis would have loved stuffing himself on the Fried P.B.J. & Banana from the above concession stand.
The Coco-Cola Food Court at the State Fair of Texas seats over 3000. Inside the Coca-Cola Food Court. This is not your run of the mill mall food court. The Texas State Fair food court seats over 3000. We saw many people unable to find a seat, so there must have been over 3000 people in here. It is fitting that such a mall-like food court is at the fair since the majority of the fair is devoted to selling merchandise.
A couple of young ladies enjoying standing room only nachos at the Coco-Cola Food Court at the State Fair of Texas. A couple of hungry Texas gals tiring of holding their heavy plates of chili and cheese loaded nachos, hoping a seating opportunity would soon open up. There were dozens of different food purveyors of dozens of various cuisines, much of it not deep-fried.
Texas Caribbean Foods at the State Fair of Texas. See? Nothing fried here. Healthy stuff like Bread Pudding, Coco Bread, Beef, Jerky Turkey Legs, Key Lime Pie and Jerk Chicken. 
Fried Candy at the Coco-Cola Food Court at the Texas State Fair. The thing that caught our eye at Benavides Mexican Food was the Fried Candy. We've no idea what type candy is being fried. Snicker Bar? Tootsie Roll? Gum Drops? 
Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles at the Coco-Cola Food Court at the Texas State Fair. This one is called the Popcorn Factory. Why, we do not know, even though they do sell popcorn it seems their main thing is Southern Fried Chicken.. Chicken & Waffles is a menu item Yankees reading this might find an interesting concept. As you can see adult beverages are sold at the Texas State Fair. They cost a lot of coupons though.

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