DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) -The cancellation of this year’s State Fair of Texas will serve another big blow to local businesses and workers who depend on the annual event as a source of income.
Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que has been helping feed its crowds since 1978 since its founder John Reaves became only its second minority vendor.
His sons, Juan and Brent, now run the family’s restaurant and catering business.
“There’s a huge economic impact, not to just our business but to the families we support, our staff here and the seasonal staff we hire annually,” said Juan. “The fair represents extra hours, overtime. It also represents bonuses when we win or do well in our competition.”
The family business makes almost one-third of its annual income from the State Fair, during which it employs about 100 seasonal workers.
The State Fair estimates it creates about 7,000 seasonal jobs every fall.
“I keep thinking about my workers,” said Abel Gonzales, who would have marked his 18th year as a food vendor at the fair. “That’s a big source of their just-to-live income.”
Gonzales made his name at the State Fair, winning more Big Tex Choice Awards than anyone.
“It accounts for at least 80% of my income throughout the year,” he said.
Cancelling the fair, he believes, was the right decision.
“For us to go out there and put on a fair and then make anybody sick, that made me scared. That frightened me,” he said.
He’s just not sure what it means for him or the thousands more the fair supports.
“Tomorrow when I wake up and really start thinking about it, I don’t know what we’re going to do.”