It’s State Fair of Texas time again, and the fun kicks off on Friday, September 30 at 10 am. The theme for the 2011 fair is 125 Years, A Timeless Tradition, and all the tradition that belongs to the state fair will be in place at Fair Park in Dallas.
Some of the traditions that make the State Fair of Texas the State Fair of Texas are music, crafts, animals, rides, games, exhibitions, demonstrations, contests, and of course, food.
Because the fair is known as the Fried Food Capital of Texas, a good portion of the food available at fair concessions is fried, and we’re not talking fried food as in French fries or potato chips, but fried versions of all manner of regular food.
Fried buffalo chicken in a flapjack was named best tasting food for the 2011 fair, and fried bubblegum was named most creative fair food. Other fried food finalists include fried salsa: dippped, then covered in tortilla chips before frying, fried salsa is brought to fairgoers by the creator of the fried Pop Tart, who recommends a fried Pop Tart as the perfect fried salsa follow-up.
El Bananarito is another finalist: imagne a banana wrapped in a flour tortilla, then topped with chocolate, honey, powdered sugar, and cinnamon after coming out of the fryer, or try fried pineapple upside down cake.
New to the 2011 State Fair of Texas is Texas!, a special exhibit honoring 175 years of history of the Lone Star State, which will be on display in the Hall of State. Cirque Shanghai, a 22-member group of African acrobats, will wow the crowd with amazing feats of gymnastics, juggling, contortions, and balancing.
Fair favorites such as the kidway, midway, wine garden, Starlight Parade, and Illumination Sensation will be making repeat performances. Other returnees are the Texas Lottery Luck Zone, where you can get in the money machine or spin the giant wheel for a prize, or just buy a ticket and try your luck, and the butter sculpture, made from a 1,000-pound slab of butter. This year the buttery scene will depict a woman carrying her baked goods to a contest, while the livestock arrive for judging at the local fair. You’ll find the butter sculpture in the Creative Arts Building.
Other attractions are canine and mounted units from the DPD, the children’s barnyard, and Spirit of the Horse, “promoting the sacred art of safe horsemanship.”
The dog show, pig races, and Kroger bird show will also be back, as will football in the Cotton Bowl, craft displays, livestock, the auto show, and lots of shopping opportunities. Musical guests K.C. & the Sunshine Band, Crystal Bowersox, Hanson, Randy Travis, and Pat Benatar will be providing entertainment throughout the 24 days of the fair.
Plants, exotic birds, and the model trains of the Texas Garden Railway can be found at the Greenhouse on the Midway; if you’re in the vicinity of the Greenhouse and think you see a tree moving around, you’re not hallucinating. It’s probably the Tree Walker.
If you’re a State Fair of Texas veteran, you already have a pretty good idea what to expect at this year’s fair. If you’ve never been, only being there in person and experiencing it for yourself can do it justice.
Mark your calendar for the fair, which runs from September 30 through October 23. Fair Park is located off I-30 in downtown Dallas. For a complete list of shows, demonstrations, fair dates and times, and directions, visit the fair website.