TRAVEL HERE: THE STATE FAIR OF TEXAS 2012
My post about the fair last year is getting a lot of hits lately, so I knew I’d be visiting Big Tex soon. I just got home from a marvelous day there, so if there are more typos than usual please forgive me. I wanted to fill you in as soon as I could.
Our 2012 Visit
The rainy Sunday morning scared away the throngs and the cooler weather made it even more enjoyable. In spite of the dreary weather, great luck accompanied us all day long. First luck was asking some policemen about the price of parking. They pointed out a free place
and said they’d be there watching the car. It seemed too good to be true, but the car was still there when came back.
As soon as we entered the fairgrounds, we walked by a pavilion where they were giving away samples of Sensodyne Toothpaste. That’s Bill’s toothpaste of choice, but he hates that he has to use it because it
costs more than other toothpastes. We loaded up on samples and coupons – and then Bill visited them again on the way out.
Cross-referencing our entrance gate with my list of free shows sent us towards the Greenhouse on the Midway where the Tree Man Stilt Walker was the next show in proximity . We located it with time to spare, so I hurried to the nearest Fletcher’s to get our first corny dog of the day. Very happy mouth and tummy!
You’ll want to go to the Greenhouse. You’ll love the garden inside with it’s miniature trains wandering among miniature Texas landmarks. There’s a pumpkin carver creating autumn delights from HUGE pumpkins in one corner and Southern Living celebrities giving lectures in the other. However, don’t worry about getting there for the Tree Man Stilt Walker. It’s just a guy dressed like an Ent posing for pictures. I’m sure he’s a very nice Ent, but no need plan your day around him.
Next we went over to the Thrillway to catch the BMX Bike Show – a much better use of time. What these guys can do
with two wheels is amazing; so go! From high flying bikes we segued to high flying birds at the Kroger Birds of the World in the Band Shell. This show has been coming to the fair for many years and there’s really nothing new. If you have kids or are just crazy about birds, then you’ll enjoy it, but I wished that I’d used my time otherwise.
On the way to the Cotton Bowl Plaza for our second corny dog, we passed the Chinese Lantern Exhibit at the Lagoon. We were able to peek over at it from the Band Shell and at the end of the plaza they have a gate where you can peep at a snippet of what’s there. We would have loved to see it all, but it’s nigh onto $20 each and that just didn’t make any sense with all the other expenses of the day. So you rich guys go and tell me how it is.
Near the Lagoon we passed the Tree House Maestro. It’s a guy singing in a treehouse. If you take a food break at the plaza I recommend carrying your meal around the corner and enjoying his music. If you eat your meal in the plaza you might be there when the Midway Barker is doing his act and that’s well worth missing.
As we strolled by Big Tex, four o’clock was drawing nigh, which meant that we had some choices to make. Most of the
free entertainment have last shows between four and six, so we had to decide which to make an effort to see. We chose the USMC Drum & Bugle Corp. They were great, but we also wanted to see the African Acrobats, so after a few numbers we sneaked away and got in on the last part of the acrobats. We should have stayed with the Marines.
Since we were next to the automobile building, Bill made a detour through it. Favorites? The Dodge Challenger and the Chevrolet Camaro. The Ford Fusion had great exterior styling, but on the inside it looked like a Ford. The Impala was pretty amazing and we’d be happy with any of the Cadillacs.
Exiting the automobile building, Bill heard Arabic music and made a beeline to the steps in front of the Hall of State. His reward was scantily clad women gyrating with scarfs, swords and other paraphernalia. He was one happy guy. There was folk dancing of all types being preformed there throughout the day and if I had it to do all over again, I think I might have camped out there and enjoyed it. We would have missed out on a lot of exercise, but I think it would have been entertaining.
Poor Bill was worn out from all the walking I’d made him do, but being the champion he is, he followed along as I tried to find two more shows. I found the stage for the Chinese Acrobats, but I’d been mistaken about the time, so we missed that show. We found the Tropical Music Man in the Coliseum. He was a really nice guy, playing some great tunes, but he wasn’t Elvis and there were these wild kids creating havoc. We got out of there and found The Kildares on the Backdoor Stage. Now these guys are worth a little effort. They’re a Celtic rock
group and they perform on a revolving round stage. I hadn’t planned on seeing them, but was glad we didn’t miss them.
When The Kildares were through, it was a little early to catch that last Chinese Acrobat show and Bill was hungry again. He’s been on the South Beach Diet and even though he’d shared a couple of corny dogs with me, he didn’t want to stray too far from his regimen. He found some grilled shrimp (he doesn’t recommend it) and we moseyed over to the Texas Wine Garden to eat it.
The Wine Garden is a pleasant shaded area and most of the tables were inhabited. On my own, I would have looked around and been disappointed no empty tables were available. Bill talked me into inviting ourselves to a table where a couple of girls were sharing a bottle of wine. We discovered we’d invited ourselves into one of the best parts of the day. These fun girls not only shared their table with us, but they let us taste their wine. The pair were cousins from Flower Mound and worked at a restaurant called Decanter Restaurant and Wine Bar. They told us about the extensive wine training the restaurant gives their employees, so we’re going to make the trip over there sometime soon.
After sharing corny dog number three, we said good-bye to our Flower Mound buddies. When Bill is surrounded with pretty women he loses all track of the time, so he thought we still had time to see the Chinese Acrobats. The Acrobats were over, but there was still a lot more fair.
We crossed over to the Creative Arts Building and perused the ribbon winners, amused ourselves with the Embarcadero salespeople and breezed through the Food and Fiber Building (where we were too late for samples). As we headed to the Centennial Building to see the imported cars we heard Uncle Cracker, at the Chevrolet Main Stage, pouring out some toe-tapping tunes. We didn’t stop to cut a rug, but we did cut through the Craft Pavilion where we saw some amazing wooden airplane models, but our billfolds stayed safely tucked away. Inside the Centennial Building Bill lingered lovingly in the Lexus area and I drooled a little bit over the Volkswagon CC.
Our day was winding down, but the fun wasn’t over yet. Bill caught the tail end of the second appearance of the belly dance ensemble, which put us in exactly the right spot for the Parade. It was a nice little parade, but I think I’m ruined for parades the rest of my life. After seeing The Grand Floral Parade in Portland this year it will take some kind of parade to make an impression.
We had a few more food coupons left and the Tower Building was nearby, so we found a way to spend them. The Diet Dr. Pepper was refreshing, but the gyro was below par.
Illumination Sensation at the Esplanade was a spectacular end to our evening. I’d try to explain it, but words aren’t adequate, so be sure not to go home until you’ve experienced it. Bill held my hand on the way back to the car and I decided it had been one of the best visits I’d ever made to the fair.
I hope you’ll make it to the fair this year. Let me know how you like it!