Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Farewell to the Real Big Tex

Jane and Big Tex in 2012


The State Fair of Texas is always big news for me, but it’s not usually on World News with Diane Sawyer.  In case you didn’t know, the State Fair’s iconic mascot, Big Tex, burned down to his frame on Friday.  Though the event is certainly not on the scale of other tragedies in our nation, over the last few days when a Dallasite asked, “Where were you when you found out,” I knew what they were talking about.

Big Tex & Me

I met Big Tex for the first time in 1966.  My family had just moved back to Texas after following Dad’s job throughout the South for my first 11 years.  Going to the State Fair of Texas was the most exciting thing I’d ever done in my young life.  A Fletcher’s Corny Dog was the second best thing I’d ever put in my mouth.  I say second, because 1966 is also the year I first tried Tex-Mex.  That maiden visit to the Fair is also when I saw and fell in love with my first Jaguar, but I’ll leave that unrequited passion for another day.

I loved the State Fair as a kid and when I got old enough to visit without my parents, I loved it even more.  (Sorry Mom

From our 2011 visit with Bill’s family

and Dad!)  Frugality and moderation were of great importance in my family.  Our superiority was measured by the fact that we didn’t waste money on frivolous stuff.  Unleashed from parental control, I adored strolling through the Midway with a corny dog in one hand and a beer in the other.  I enjoyed it so much I repeated it frequently throughout the day.  I loved riding the rides and buying incense burners and brass whatnots in the International Bazaar.  (There is no longer an International Bazaar, but there are still opportunities to waste a little cash on something you’ll throw away in a week or two.)  I was never big on Midway games, but I didn’t need to pay anyone money to prove that I was clumsy and uncoordinated.  I was well aware of that paradigm.

You might think that someone this enamored of a local fair just hadn’t been anywhere else, but you’d be wrong.  I’ve been around the world, and I still love to travel, but if it’s October, I’d rather stick close to Dallas so I can hang out at the Fair.

I am very sorry my beloved city has lost it’s mascot, but the mayor and fair officials were quick to assure us of the return of Big Tex.  But therein lies a problem.  We’ve been promised that Big Tex is going to be bigger and better.  Big Tex was big enough for me and I’m not sure how they plan to improve him.  I’ve been to Disney World and other attractions utilizing animatronics.  Sure , it’s cool to ride through It’s a Small World and see Lincoln come alive, but part of Big Tex’s attraction was his kitsch.  He was like one of those long forgotten dinosaurs standing alone next to a defunct roadside attraction, except that Big Tex still had a gig.   I’m not sure bigger and better are what I want for Big Tex.

How about you?  Do you want bigger and better or more of the same?  What do you think the new Big Tex will have over the old Big Tex?