Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, TRAVEL

State Fair of Texas

The New Big Tex
The New Big Tex


I interrupt this series of blogs about traveling beyond DFW to remind everyone that it’s State Fair time in Texas.  If you’ve followed this blog for very long or know this blogger, then you know I love me some State Fair of Texas.

Free-style Fair Visit

This year I tried something new, a free-style fair visit.  If you’ll remember, free-style cruising didn’t suit me very well, but life’s been a little bit demanding lately.  I just didn’t have time to fully research this year’s fair before showing up.  We just headed south on 75, cut over to 45 and ended up on MLK Boulevard.

I guess we might have been a little earlier than usual, because the parking flaggers weren’t out in droves.  There were Park Here signs all around, but it wasn’t quite clear which signs went with which spots and no one was begging us to park there.  We happened upon a nice young man, out in the yard with his little house-coated grandmother, but they were taking out the trash, not selling parking places.  They invited us to park in her front yard and accepted $5 as an afterthought.

Inside the Greenhouse. This photo was taken last year, but it's the same this year.
Inside the Greenhouse. This photo was taken last year, but it’s the same this year.

We entered at Gate Nine, which is by the Carousel and Midway Greenhouse.  We made the first potty stop behind the carousel and set out to find our first corny dog.   We enjoyed our Fletcher’s and Shiner break at a picnic table near the Coca Cola Stage, but we’d missed the performance, whatever it was. Next up was Big Tex.

If you follow me on facebook, you saw some photos of Big Tex that I shared from another site a few days ago.  I was pretty critical of the guy, but come to find out, what I hated most, the Santa Fe colored clothing and boots, aren’t a part of his reality.  It was a trick of the lighting or photoshop or something.  His outfit was better than I’d hoped for, but one thing’s for sure, whoever put him together knows nothing about human proportions.  Big Tex really is chunkier than he used to be, but unless Lucchese has started making thigh-high boots for men, somebody’s done something wrong.

Next was the Grand Place.  You know that building where they have the outdoor spas and vibrating chairs.  I have no idea why we went, but we always do.  One quick circuit and we were out, but I did sample the wine slushies.  Not a big hit with us.

2013-10-06 14.16.14

On to the Automobile Building – gotta keep my fella happy.  I thought the Ford Robot Guy was interesting and Bill kicked some Cadillac tires, but we spent most of our time at Chrysler’s Golf Simulator.

Across the Esplanade, Bill sat in Hyundai’s Genesis and Equus, as well as a short sojourn in a Lincoln, but I don’t think Mercedes has anything to worry about. He will be buying one of the new CLA’s.  Just give him some time.

We checked out the rest of the Centennial Building and fell in love with some fancy yard furniture, but the price tag was a bit hefty.  We could better afford some of the offerings in the Embarcadero, but we didn’t see anything we wanted.

A perennial favorite with us is the Creative Arts Showcase and this year was no different.  We made our first of two visits, lingering over the photos.  Then we knew it was time for some more fair food.

The break that really refreshes.
The break that really refreshes.

Last year we’d really had a good time in the Texas Wine Garden, so we headed that way.  This year, Texas Craft Beers had invaded the wine garden and it was a perfect afternoon for a cold one.  Bill got the beer and sent me on a food safari.  Well, I checked out the cheese trays, but we’d have needed to bring all our friends to justify one, so I headed down to Hans Mueller’s.  It wasn’t exactly next door, but definitely worth the trek.  A plate of too many cheese cubes was twenty-four coupons in the wine garden, but for sixteen I got three brats, a huge roll, sauerkraut and some German potato salad.  Yum, just perfect to share with our Texas craft beer.

Another hit from last year had been the Sensodyne toothpaste tent.  I swear Bill got enough samples to last him the year, so he wanted to see if they had a tent this year.  The program lists them as a sponsor, but we never did find their space.  If anyone else does, please bring Bill a few tubes.  Instead of toothpaste, I got a Hill’s dog food sample and a few bites of Wolf Brand Chili.  Bill considered the Chevy Test Drive and Air Force Simulator, but the crowds deterred him from both.

The Kildares were just as good this year as they were in this picture from last year.
The Kildares were just as good this year as they were in this picture from last year.

Heading back towards the Texas Food & Fiber Building, Bill’s tires ran low and he wanted some funnel cake.  The Kilidares were playing on the Dr. Pepper Stage, so I offered to find him some funnel cake and went to grab myself a Diet Dr. Pepper, my beverage of choice.  The Diet DP would have been easy enough, but for some reason, funnel cake wasn’t represented nearby.  I kept thinking, “There has to be some in the next batch of food vendors,” but that took me all the way back to Big Tex.  I finally found his treat inside the Tower Building, but I’d already been gone too long.  My phone rang and Bill wanted to make sure I hadn’t been mugged.  I found a shortcut back, but by then, my tires were running low, too.

As we relaxed, the Kildares (who’d quit playing shortly after I left on the serach for funnel cake) came back onto their revolving stage and we enjoyed their beautiful Celtic music.  As we considered what to do next, I checked the daily program and it said there were samples in the Food & Fiber building until seven. We detoured through the Creative Arts Showcase to avoid the crowds, but enjoyed getting another look at the crafts.  When we reached the Food & Fiber Building we discovered the program had lied.  We arrived by 6:30 and the place was a ghost town.  Even Elsie and Beauregard had found other places to be.

Jane and Big Tex in 2012
Jane and Big Tex in 2012

So far, the day had been perfect with one small miscalculation.  As we sat in the wine garden, someone said they were leaving and offered us their remaining coupons.  I made the mistake of thinking they were offering to GIVE us the coupons, because that’s what I always do when the day is over, but NO!  They expected us to pay them and it flummoxed me so that I actually did.  Now Bill was damned and determined to recoup my loss as we wandered back to Gate Nine.

On our quest to spend our coupons, we visited the Elvis impersonator on the Silverado Stage, checked out the Craft Pavilion and gazed down the Esplanade.  Bill decided he could forego the Illumination Sensation, but he did want to get rid of the coupons, so I opted for another Fletcher’s Corny Dog from the stand down by The Old Mill. We hooked up with Big & Bright Boulevard and caught a peek at The Chinese Lantern Festival.  We were there about the time that the Parade was lining up, so instead of standing on the sidelines and watching the parade pass, we strolled along looking at the floats.

Entrance to Fair Park's Chinese Lantern Festival
Entrance to Fair Park’s Chinese Lantern Festival

One taste treat that I’d been eyeing all day was some beverage concoction in a pineapple.  I finally found the booth at the end of the Cotton bowl Plaza, but it cost more coupons than we had remaining.  Then I found Bill by one of the ticket booths hawking our last coupons, so I realized it was time to go home.

This was a great weekend.  Dallas had that perfect October weather Cottonwoodthing going on.  I attended two events of my 40th High School Reunion and made a visit to Cottonwood Art Festival.  A weekend like this is reason enough to live in Texas.