State Fair of TexasA required stamp on the Texas passport

A required stamp on the Texas Passport

By Matthew Berger, Director of Communication


The State Fair of Texas is returning to historic Fair Park, and visitors from near and far are excited. From Fletcher’s corny dogs to car shows and rides, the annual event is fun for all.

Whether you’re a seasoned fairgoer or a newbie attending for the first time, it’s the essential stamp on your Texas passport. The No. 1 rule: come hungry.

“We want people who are brand new to Texas or brand new to the Dallas Region to stamp their Texas passport while at the State Fair,” said Jennifer Schuder, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the State Fair of Texas. “It’s a major tradition for a lot of people.”

At 24 consecutive days, the State Fair is the longest-running fair in the nation, as well as one of the largest. Below are attractions (and fun facts) about the best fair in the country:

A birthday celebration, Texas-style
Big Tex, the famous face of the State Fair of Texas, turns 70 years old on Oct. 4. Since 1952, the 55-foot man with the 95-gallon cowboy hat has greeted fairgoers with his famous line, “Howdy folks; this is Big Tex.” This year is even more special.

“We’ll have a Texas-sized, birthday celebration for the big cowboy from Corsicana,” Schuder said. “Make sure you come to wish him a happy birthday.”

Other fun facts about Big Tex:

-His Western shirt is 200 inches x 325 inches (neck size by sleeve size). An average man’s size is 16 x 32.

-It takes 100 yards of fabric to make Big Tex’s jeans, which weigh a whopping 100 pounds with 3.5-inch rivets.

-His size-96 boots are a 1949 replica cowboy boot designed by Lucchese.

Giving back to the community
The State Fair of Texas is a nonprofit organization, and since its establishment in 1886, it’s promoted Texas agriculture, education, and community involvement. The fair is committed to preserving Fair Park and building on its legacy as a historic landmark.

“We host a fair on 277 acres with the largest collection of art deco buildings in the middle of it and a 90,000-seat stadium that hosts one of the most iconic college football games in the country,” Schuder said. “It’s a very different experience at Fair Park, and it only makes it better.”

Since 1992, The Big Tex Scholarship Program has also awarded college scholarships to more than 3,000 students, totaling more than $16.1 million. Scholarships vary, but the Youth Livestock Scholarship is for high school seniors in Texas who have participated in livestock events at the State Fair, and the Seasonal Employee Scholarship is for employees of the State Fair of Texas or their dependents. For more information, visit the State Fair of Texas Scholarship page.

The food isn’t all fried
In 2016, the State Fair of Texas introduced a mobile agricultural system. All produce from Big Tex Urban Farms (more than 6,000 fruits and vegetables) is donated to south Dallas organizations, including the Baylor Scott & White Health and Wellness Center at the Juanita J. Craft Recreation Center, Cornerstone Baptist Church, and Austin Street Shelter.

The urban farm’s 40-by-48-inch beds were designed and manufactured through a partnership with Dallas-based General Packaging Corporation.

“We have been a catalyst in connecting people with all of our community gardening going,” Schuder said. “Indoor agriculture is a great way to sustainably create a large output for fresh fruits and vegetables that we can donate to non-profits organizations  in Southern Dallas County, and it’s also educational for the community.”

Arts and crafts and a car show, Texas-style
The State Fair of Texas has one of the largest — and longest running — art shows in the nation. Participants compete in arts and crafts (rug making is one of 14 categories) and cooking. The Big Tex BBQ & Chili Challenge invites all pitmasters and chili cooks in the Lone Star State to show off their culinary expertise. Texas-sized bragging rights are on the line, so don’t miss out on the fun.

The State Fair is for the car enthusiasts in your life, too. Since 1913, the State Fair has hosted the Texas Auto Show. Sit in the latest vehicles from the brand you love or discover a new four-wheeled favorite.

Food, food, and more food
Some just go to the fair for the food, and we’re here for it. New food entries this year include the Deep-Fried Country Cookout, Dim Sum Loco Burritos, Cajun Lobster Bisque Croquettes, and Chocolate Dipped Cheesecake on a Stick. You can find the full list here. Come hungry and leave happy, and remember, calories don’t count while you’re at the State Fair of Texas!

The State Fair of Texas begins on Friday, Sept. 30 and runs until Sunday, Oct. 23. Read more about the State Fair of Texas here.