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DALLAS (CBS11) – A North Texas couple celebrated 50 years of marriage at the State Fair of Texas on Thursday.

Joe and Mary Torres wed on October 16th, 1965.

“I feel like we’re best friends, too,” said Joe. “I just enjoy her company.  I enjoy her being with me. Even if we were not married, I would still invite her to the fair with me.”

They met through their families and married at 19 and 18 years old, in Mary’s hometown of Breckenridge.

Overflowing with love but not a lot of money, the newlyweds didn’t have the funds for a fancy honeymoon.

Instead, they hopped in Joe’s car and drove to the big city – Dallas – for a honeymoon at the State Fair of Texas.

“When we got here it scared us to death, because we’d never seen as many cars! We had no idea where we were going,” said Joe.

“To come to Dallas was a big deal for us back then. I said, ‘Sure, let’s go!’ And I enjoyed it,” said Mary.

Their first anniversary wasn’t spent at the fair; Joe joined the US Army and was sent to Alaska.  He later served in Vietnam.

Mary was a homemaker.  After the service, Joe went to college and became an accountant, working for the Texas Department of Insurance.  He is retired today.

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Life eventually led the couple to move to Dallas in 1980. They have three daughters and two grandchildren now.

Each fall, they try to visit the fair around October 16th.

“It takes us back to some of the younger years and the time we spent here,” said Mary.

On Thursday, that included a corny dog and a Dr. Pepper, the couple’s favorite tradition.  They spent the day walking around exhibits, and planned to stay for the parade at night.

This summer, Joe wrote a letter to the fair, asking if they’d consider putting a ‘Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary’ message on the marquee near the Big Tex pavilion.

Touched by their love story, and their connection to the fair, employees did something even bigger:  they had Big Tex wished the couple a happy 50th anniversary, as other fair visitors clapped and cheered.

“We love it! It’s been a good 50 years,” the couple said.

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