By: Crystal VanTassel
State Fair of Texas
3921 Martin Luther King Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75210
Hours: Friday – Monday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Tuesday – Thursday – 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Seniors 60+: $12 (Free every Thursday in Oct.)
Children under 48” tall: $12
Children under 2: Free
When you hear the words State Fair of Texas, what are the first things that come to mind? Is it Big Tex, the fried foods or the Ferris wheel? No matter because many proud Texans spend all year waiting and planning for fair season and the time has once again arrived.
The State Fair of Texas has been an annual event in the Lone Star State for 125 years. It’s open daily and this year runs from September 30-October 23, at Fair Park in Dallas. Fridays- Mondays the buildings are open from 10a-10p and on Tuesdays-Thursdays the buildings close at 9p. General admission is $16, but prices are different for children under 48” tall and senior citizens. You can read more about gate ticket pricing here.
If this is your first time to attend the fair, or if it has been a while since your last adventure, here are some of the top activities and attractions you won’t want to miss!
Big Tex - This 52 foot tall cowboy is a mascot and quiet likely a major component in the branding behind this long lived fair. And did I mention he talks? While you’re there, make sure you take your picture with him for memories that will last a lifetime- even if Big Tex’s boots are the only thing that make it in the photo.
The Food - Our state fair is known for its variety of FRIED everything. (it is the Fried Food Capital of Texas, after all) fried Twinkies, fried Coke, fried butter, fried candy bars and the list goes on and on. If you only try one food at the fair, it’s gotta be a Fletcher’s Corny Dog. And if you have a love for spicy food, go for the jalapeno and cheese corn dog. Yum! Here is an awesome tool you can use to map out the location of your favorite foods at the fair before you go. Simply type in the keyword, like “Funnel Cake” and then watch as the map generates a layout showing you which booths within the park are selling funnel cakes, for example. How cool is that?
Amusement Rides - The Midway is where it’s at with rides and games and winning galore. The famous 200+ foot Ferris wheel takes you up high to see a beautiful view of the Dallas skyline. And if you’re super daring, you can take a zip on the Skyway where you have a birds- eye- view of the fairgrounds below you from one end of the park to the other. And don’t miss the traditional games like ball tosses and the opportunity for someone to guess your weight, all for the chance to win larger than life prizes.
• Win Prizes!
Concerts - The Chevrolet Main Stage is where it’s at for entertainment over the weekend – but be forewarned – the big acts also bring in the big crowds! This season the lineup includes someone for everyone from tween sensation Mitchel Musso to American Idol alum Crystal Bowersox and major powerhouses like Randy Travis and Pat Benatar. The best part? All concerts are included in the price of your fair admission. You can view the complete main stage schedule here to plan ahead.
Auto Show - The annual car show/exhibit at the State Fair covers 300,000 square feet of space, some of which is indoors. You will see new cars being released from an array of car manufacturers, as well as old vintage cars and even concept cars that are so fun to look at and image their existence. Not into cars? This is still a really fun exhibit to see that holds lots of anticipation for many each year.
For the shopper – Shop ‘til your Texas heart is content at the 300+ exhibit spaces located in the Coliseum Market Place, Grand Place, Crafts Pavilion, Centennial Building (inside & out), Gateway Pavilion, Embarcadero, East Park/Gateway and the Pennsylvania Gate.
For the creative – Get your cooking skills up to par; stop by the Celebrity Kitchen to check out demonstrations from celebrity chefs to learn their greatest cooking and recipe secrets. Creative contests and competitions will be held throughout the three-week affair.
For the animal lover – The fair really owes its history to our four-legged friends, so make sure to check out the livestock barns and various shows across Fair Park. A highlight every year is to see pigs go snout to snout at the Pig Races held at the Pan American Arena.
For the garden lover – All’s fair in sculpture and landscaping when it comes to this year’s Fall Garden Exhibition. Dating back to 2002, this original landscaping contest is now going above and beyond to maintain their sculptured beds year-round.
Good to know – Be prepared for crowds inside Fair Park, traditional parking scenarios that require paying to park and then walking some, generally long food lines and purchasing onsite tickets used for the games and rides. Many of the school districts in the North Texas area send home a free student admission ticket each school year, so watch for those in backpacks as we all look for ways to enjoy family entertainment on a budget
Crystal VanTassel is the author of Crystal & Co., a mommy resource site. She finds mommy related solutions for herself and others, as she navigates through the journey of mommyhood while raising five wild boys. You can contact Crystal directly at email@example.com.