Last year, The Husband, a friend and I went to the State Fair of Texas to check out what the fuss was all about. We, though from a tiny country half-way around the world, have honestly never experienced anything like this. Okay, we didn’t grow up in the forest nor in the rice paddies of the Philippines. The Husband and I are big city slickers. We ain’t got big ass annual peryas like this. After the fun that we had – watching ostrich races, eating all that fried food, checking out all those pick up trucks and dancing to Kool and the Gang’s free concert – we told ourselves that visiting the State Fair of Texas once was more than enough.
BUT since we had visitors over from the Pacific Northwest, we decided to visit again. It was after all a quintessential part of the entire Texas experience, an event Texans have looked forward to every year since 1886.
And after this second visit, we’ve picked up some tips that perhaps you could find useful if you visit Texas and be here when the State Fair is open.
The State Fair only happens once a year. It opens late September and is open for 3-weeks. The dates do change every year, so check out bigtex.com for the exact dates before you head on over.
You can always purchase regular priced tickets at the State Fair. They have booths where you can buy them before entering the grounds. BUT, who doesn’t love a discount?
You can get a few dollars of savings and save you the hassle of falling in line at the ticket booths by buying your tickets at your nearest Kroger. Or check out other promotions they have at http://bigtex.com/discounts/
HOW TO GET THERE
Of course, you can take your car to Fair Park in downtown Dallas. It can get a little traffic, especially on weekends.
If you feel a little lazy driving down there, you always have the option of taking DART and getting off the Fair Park station. Whole day, unlimited trip DART passes cost $5/ person.
There are home / land / establishment owners who take advantage of the draw of the crowds and open their space for parking. Parking costs from $5 to even $20. And is not necessarily the safest option, if you truly want your vehicle to be in a more secure environment.
So it is recommended to park in the official parking lots, which are gated. Parking in these lots cost, more or less the same, at $15 for the entire day. What’s $15 for your peace of mind?
Food, beverages, rides are paid for with coupons. So each food & beverage booth or ride will state how many coupons you need to purchase an item or a ticket.
There are coupon booths scattered across the fair grounds, where you can purchase coupons via cash or credit card in any amount that you’d like.
The State Fair of Texas is infamous for its fried food! So if you’re eating healthy, make sure to stay away or just try to make up for the all the fried food you’d consume on State Fair day by doing a detox the following week.
There are your fair food staples like funnel cake, caramel apples, and, the very famous Fletcher’s corny dogs (that’s corn dogs for you non-Texans…apparently they were invented in this state). And every year, there are new fried food inventions / abominations that you can dare to try. This year, we’ve tried the “alligator’s nest” (alligator meatballs on a nest of French fries), fried carrot cake, Fried Sweet Texas (a fried pastry pocket filled with peach cobbler filling, butter milk pie filling and pecans drizzled with caramel pecans, served with a scoop of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream) and Texas pork handle (fried breaded pork chop with bone on).
Don’t forget your Lipitor!
If you’re into the whole carnival rides thing, you can ride to your heart’s content at the Midway. There are also a lot of booths with games, where you can win big fluffy stuffed toys. A word of caution though, you should be prepared to lug the thing around the fair or maybe have someone who would be kind enough to carry it for you.
But there are a LOT of free shows that everyone can enjoy. I particularly enjoyed the pig races! They’re seriously so much fun! The Husband and I were laughing our asses off the entire time!
Oh, and for a city slicker like me, I sincerely did enjoy the Moo U, agriculture tour, and chatting with an urban beekeeper. They showed us farm animals and shared interesting tidbits like how the color of the eggshell because of the color of the chicken’s ears and not their feathers. And the nice lady beekeeper told me all about how she started.
Maybe I should be a farmer in America in my next lifetime?
And loads of free concerts! But since we are in the middle of country music landia, expect a lot of those musicians on stage.
One of the main thrusts of the fair is to showcase everything Texan. So as a newbie, I really appreciated the tidbits of Texas trivia. Like how there is such a genre of music called Tex-Mex Rock. Or the many featured arts and crafts like the butter sculpture. Yes, made of butter!
The State Fair of Texas is a wonderland of kurkurantongs or useless cute things that will just eat space and eventually collect dust.So if you are into that, then you will be in heaven!
And strangely, there are a lot of big ticket items you can actually buy at the State Fair, like mattresses, pools, massage chairs, and even cars and tractors! Who even decides to buy those at the fair?!?
So head on over to the State Fair of Texas before it officially ends. Last day this Sunday!
P.S. All photos are mine. I was too lazy to watermark.