By Kennedi Walker

DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — Eager Texans packed the State Fair of Texas on opening day, and fair officials say they’re expecting to see thousands more.

“The excitement is overwhelming,” fair official Rusty Fitzgerald said. “Everybody is so happy – after a two-year break — to be back out here.”

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The influx of attendees is great news for the small business owners who depend on fair revenue. Last year, most suffered when the fair scaled back due to the pandemic.

“They’re excited to be here and just ready to get the job done,” Fitzgerald said.

Greg Parish owns Gourmet Royale and has been serving customers for more than 30 years. He says he’s relieved to be making money again.

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“When you’re used to the State Fair revenue coming in, it’s like what do you do? I didn’t know what to do with myself last year,” Parish said.

His award-winning gumbo balls were a crowd favorite on opening night, and he says he’s looking forward to being back in business.

“It’s really refreshing,” Parish said.

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It’s estimated that millions will attend this year’s State Fair of Texas, which will be open until Oct. 17.

Kennedi Walker