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Safety A Top Concern As State Fair Prepares To Open

Bud Gillett, CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COM
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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – The State Fair of Texas opens Friday in Dallas.  Rides, corny dogs, and all that goes with it starts at 10:00 am. Fair-goers can take safety for granted because police and fair officials do not.

It’ll begin with parking; Dallas police say there are enough spaces that everyone can park on the fair grounds, an area that will be saturated with officers and surveillance cameras.

“The State Fair of Texas will be the safest place in Dallas,” declared deputy Dallas Police Chief Malik Aziz.

Safety extends to rides as well. Those shipped in from out of town get inspected from the moment they come off their trailers, according to fair spokeswoman Sue Gooding.  “We have five safety operators that are here the whole 24 days and leading up to the fair that look at these rides.”

Three Saturdays of college football are also a draw. The city of Dallas just finished a $25 million upgrade of hospitality lounges and finished the Cotton Bowl’s outer facade all the way around. New banners honoring the 21 Heisman Trophy winners who have played here adorn the walkways. The press box and coach’s boxes were also upgraded.

For the well-heeled fans there is new club seating. Very exclusive and hard to get. Only 350 of them.  Dallas parks director Willis Winters says that’s the point. ” With that club seating two levels of club lounges, sort of a very luxurious interior finish-out for the patrons and VIPs.”

Folks staging the 24-day run claim they’re always trying to upgrade the fair experience, according to State Fair President Errol McKoy.  “It’s our homecoming; it’s something you’ve got to do in October to make you feel better as a Texan.

Friday will also mark the official unveiling of the new Big Tex.  The original fair icon burned to the ground in a disastrous fire last year.  Big Tex 2.0 will have his dramatic unveiling at 2:00 pm when curtains hiding him will be lowered for the public to see him for the first time.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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