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State Fair Icon Turns 60

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DALLAS (AP) — Big Tex is turning the big 6-0.

The towering, hand-waving mascot of the State Fair of Texas is celebrating his 60th birthday as crews ready to hoist him up Monday at Fair Park in Dallas. The State Fair opens Friday.

With his 75-gallon hat, 50-pound belt buckle and folksy, slow drawl to greet visitors — “Howdy, folks!” — Big Tex has been the star of the fair since 1952. The birthplace of the 52-foot-tall cowboy was actually outside Dallas in the town of Kerens, where the giant figure was originally a Santa Claus.

Big Tex was showing his age even before this latest birthday.

The Dallas Morning News reported Sunday that upon turning 50 in 2002, crews made his hair grayer and added wrinkles to his face and hands.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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