Thursday, September 26, 2013
State Fair of Texas incubates culture and fried food for 127 years
Are you ready for opening day September 27?
FAIR PARK On Friday, the State Fair of Texas will open its gates for opening day at Fair Park in Dallas for the 127th time. Since 1886, the state fair has welcomed visitors from across the state with museums, music, car shows, food and a "Howdy, folks!" from Big Tex himself.
From corny dogs to funnel cake, this fried food festival brings in an average of $36 million annually. This year will feature a fried Thanksgiving dinner, winner of the most creative food award and deep-fried Cuban rolls — the winner of the best taste award. These novelties are the topic of discussion weeks before opening day, as people look forward to indulging in these culinary experiments.
Some residents of Collin County, like Dianne Sheridan and Rebecca Morris, have already been working on making the fair what it is in terms of satisfying one's palate.
Both women entered items in the pre-fair foods, arts and crafts competitions. Sheridan has been competing for four years, and entered five different jellies this year. Morris has been competing for 11 years, and this year took three first place wins with her needlepoint work.
"I like to go; I like the competition and I like the friendship," Sheridan said.
The state fair hosts nearly 50 different categories of creative arts competitions, ranging from bedspreads to biscuits. The top four of each category are displayed in the Creative Arts Building.
The walls of displays show not only the winning crafts, but also the passion and dedication of the contestants. One of the dresses Morris made for the occasion, for example, took her four months to create. The Plano resident started learning the craft as a child from her grandmother and said the fair has become a means for sharing her specialty with others.
"It's always nice see people appreciate the work that you do," she said.
Between September 27 and October 20, fairgoers from across Texas will come to view the attractions, eat the food and celebrate the diversity of the state. About 6,000 entries come from residents all over Texas.
It's residents like Sheridan and Morris who are carrying on the tradition of these crafts and are "a good representation of the flavor of Texas," said Kathy Bennett, director of the creative arts department.
Sheridan shares a similar sentiment.
"It's a big part of the community, and makes everyone feel like a part of Texas," said Sheridan. "We have the best fair in the entire United States."
Gates will be open from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets for the fair cost $17 for general admission; however, discount $13 tickets are available for children and seniors. Children 3 and younger get in free every day, as well as seniors every Thursday. For more information, visit bigtex.com.
By Flickr user Matt Pasant
What to see
The food - Priding itself in being the fried food capital of Texas, the fair will introduce battered fare like chocolate chip burritos, shrimp and grits, and pig toes on a stick.
Big Tex - The mascot makes his comeback after burning down last year due to a spark in his boot. At 52-feet-tall, he watches over fairgoers from Big Tex Circle.
Top O' Texas Tower - Opening this year, the ride takes visitors 500 feet above the fair for a view of the grounds and the Dallas skyline.
Pegasus News Content partner - Star Local News