Wednesday, September 26, 2012
What to do, see, and hear at the 2012 State Fair of Texas
Highlights include Kevin Costner, The Addams Family, and Chinese lanterns.
DALLAS There's more than fried food, y'all. And much of it is included in the cost of admission to the State Fair of Texas. (And you don't even have to pay full price for that. Find discounts here.)
Daily doings: The fair's everyday attractions and activities include Big Tex, the Texas Star, Texas SkyWay, the Midway and the Kidway, State Fair Auto Show and Truck Zone, the BMX Bike Show, cooking demonstrations in the Celebrity Kitchen, vintage vehicles in the Classic Corral, Mother Goose Storytime, Pee Wee Stampede, Little Hands on the Farm, World on a String Puppet Show, Mapapa African Acrobats, shows on the McDonald's Stage in Gateway Plaza, and the Greenhouse on the Midway with the Texas Garden Railway. Whew. Rides and games require coupons.
Chinese Lantern Festival: The images from this first-time display are impressive. Flowers, animals, the Statue of Liberty, a hundred-foot dragon made from porcelain dishes, and other art works encircle the Leonhardt Lagoon. There's also a marketplace and live shows. But it is pricey: Costs vary depending on day and time with adult tickets ranging from
$8 to $19 $5 to $14 and kids tickets ranging from $3 to $9. Also, because the Chinese Lantern Festival takes place in and around the Museum of Nature and Science, only festival ticket holders may enter the museum.
Listen up: The Chevrolet Main Stage has concerts daily, and they're all free with a fair ticket. And this year's headliners aren't nobodies. You've heard of some guy named Kevin Costner, right?
- September 28 - Le Freak
- September 29 - Kevin Costner and Modern West
- September 30 - Uncle Kracker
- October 6 - Elle Varner
- October 6 - The Rebirth Brass Band
- October 6 - Ruthie Foster
- October 7 - Ramon Ayala
- October 8 - Bridgit Mendler
- October 13 - Kevin Fowler
- October 14 - Kansas
- October 19 - Kellie Pickler
- October 20 - The Commodores
- October 21 - Texas Tornados
Kooky contests: Fritos commemorates its 80th anniversary by trying to break the Guinness World Records title for World's Biggest Fritos Chili Pie. On October 1, State Fair visitors can watch the dish being made, then sample the finished product. On October 12, watch others eat. Takeru Kobayashi and other competitive eaters will participate in the Hot Dog Eating Contest on the Chevrolet Main Stage. Both events are free to attend.
Girl Scout exhibit: Munch on free Girl Scout cookies daily at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Girl Scout 100th Anniversary Experience at the Hall of State. The centennial celebration visits the past and looks toward the future of the organization through displays such as a giant walk-through cookie box. Admission is free.
Get cultured: The Addams Family is this year's State Fair musical, and it opens October 2 at the Music Hall at Fair Park. Tickets are $15 to $75. Texas Discovery Gardens' A Natural State of Affair is an exhibit of Anna Palmer's photos from a decade of State Fair visits and nature-themed photos from around Dallas-Fort Worth. The venue will also have a Snakes of Texas display, new insects and arthropods, docents throughout the gardens, the Butterfly House with butterfly releases at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and monarch tagging demos on the front lawn 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Garden admission during the State Fair is half-price ($4 adults, $3 seniors, $2 kids 3-11, free for kids under 3). Mundo Latino takes over the former Women's Museum for Silver: Mexico’s Most Precious Metal, a free program which includes Latin music, a historical exhibit, and a marketplace. Starting October 6, African American Museum will host the exhibit Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College. Admission is $2 to $5.
Just kickin' it: The Cotton Bowl's no longer home to the Cotton Bowl Classic, but college football still takes the field during the fair. See Grambling State University and Prairie View A&M University in the State Fair Classic and Texas and OU in the Red River Rivalry. Game tickets cost extra.
Animal adventures: In addition to the livestock shows, visitors can see exotic animals in real life and real life animals doing exotic things. Check out the Pig Races, Birds of the World, The Amazing Dobermans, the Gone to the Dogs show, Spirit of the Horse show, and the Children's Medical Center Barnyard. All have free admission. Also, during the State Fair, The Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park will have $5 admission (free for children age 2 and younger) and daily feeding demonstrations at 2:30 p.m.
Light the night: Those in the park after dark may enjoy the Illumination Sensation show in which the fountains of the Esplanade are accompanied by lights, music, and pyrotechnics. It starts at 8 p.m. Also nightly is the Starlight Parade of floats and giant puppets that travel the grounds starting at 7:15 p.m. Both are free to attend.
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