“Howdy Folks!” It’s the catchphrase on the tip of every North Texan’s tongue this time of year. The Fall brings us cooler temps and football weekends, but the most iconic event happening in our neck of the woods is the great State Fair of Texas! Each year, thousands of Texans stream through the gates of Fair Park under the watchful eye of Big Tex to get their fill of the latest and greatest in fine fried creations. Fancy a Fried Oreo? They’ve got that. Or how about a Fried Cuban Roll? They’ve got that, too! To be honest, there isn’t much that hasn’t been battered, dipped and deep fried ’round these parts. Have we mentioned the Fried Butter?
But while the food may catch all the headlines, the State Fair of Texas has so much more to offer for the whole family if you take the time to explore! So finish up that world-famous Fletcher’s Corny Dog and join us for an insider’s guide to North Texas’ favorite Fall institution!
Is there anything cuter than a little Texas tot in his cowboy best? Be sure to make time in your Fair Day schedule to check out the too-adorable-for-words Pee Wee Stampede. As you may have gathered from the name, this pint-sized version of the rodeo has the kiddos riding around the ring on old-fashioned stick horses, knocking down [fake] bulls and jumping over hay bales. But don’t tell them it’s just fun and games – there are trophies on the line and these cowboys are in it to win it! Big Tex Says: Check your Fair program for showtimes and try to arrive early to get the best seat – the kids’ faces just light up when the crowd cheers! Go get ’em, little buckaroos!
Take A Letter, Maria
You can learn a lot about someone by examining their handwriting. The way you loop your Ls or cross your Ts can reveal parts of your personality you thought were imperceptible. Don’t believe us? Skip that game of ring toss on the Midway and head straight for the Handwriting Analysis Booth. For a few dollars ($3-$5 depending on how extensively you want that John Hancock analyzed), you’ll be handed a slip of paper to sign. Your signature is then fed into a very official looking… computer? Ok, it looks more like something plucked from the set of 1960s game show, but it’s all part of the State Fair charm! In a matter of moments, the computer will produce an eerily accurate personality profile. Big Tex Says: Have everyone shuffle up their results (no peeking) and redistribute to read aloud. Guessing which one of your friends got “You sometimes have a tendency to exaggerate problems” (who, me?) and which one got “Your ability to express yourself with words is greatly admired” (DO go on!) often ends in fits of laughter.
Pumpkin Picasso of the Midway
Pumpkin carving is the great equalizer. Transferring your grand artistic vision to a lumpy bumpy pumpkin always presents a challenge, even for the most creative among us. Enter Farmer Mike, Pumpkin Carver Extraordinaire. All other pumpkins pale in comparison to his masterful work. His whimsical carvings on a variety of pumpkins both big and small will leave you wide-eyed; his attention to detail is really something to behold. Farmer Mike will be set up in the Errol McKoy Greenhouse-On-The-Midway, so carve out some time to check him out at some point during your visit – you have to see him in action to truly appreciate his remarkable talent. And be sure to snap some photos for next year’s Pumpkin Carving Pinterest Board – you’ll be the envy of the neighborhood with your new found inspiration! Big Tex Says: Did you know that Farmer Mike’s reputation extends way beyond the State Fair of Texas? He was once invited to appear on The Tonight Show!
I’ll Tumble For You
There are countless opportunities to catch live shows and performances throughout the day, but there’s one that (literally) stands head and shoulders above the rest. If you only see one dance performance this year, do not miss the MAPAPA African Acrobats. Hailing from Mombasa, Kenya, the MAPAPA African Acrobats have taken their amazing show to over 25 countries – we’re so glad they make a Texas stop each year! Not only are they incredibly talented at what they do (your limbo game will be put to shame), but they are absolutely delightful and have been electrifying crowds of Fair-goers for years with their awe-inspiring acrobatics. Move over Southwest Airlines, because these guys can really FLY! Big Tex Says: Grab a cold drink before you go, they perform in the open street under full sun and it can get hot out there!
As American as (Fried) Apple Pie
One of our favorite long-standing Fair traditions is the daily performances of the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, also known as “The Commandant’s Own”. This year will mark their 51st appearance at the State Fair of Texas, and their performance draws crowds young and old who sing along to patriotic tunes and other well-loved selections. As you would expect from the Marines, these men and women are exceptionally talented musicians and an absolute joy to hear. You’ll find them just inside the main Fair Gates several times a day, so don’t miss this top-notch group! Big Tex Says: Their signature bright red uniforms are adorned with a gold cord which was originally awarded to the unit by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in recognition of their ceremonial support for the President.
The State Fair of Texas runs from now until October 19th. Be sure to visit BigTex.com to plan your own customized Fair Day!