Have you been to the State Fair of Texas?
October 6, 2012
If you haven’t, you owe it to yourself.
The State Fair of Texas takes place in Dallas in October each year.
My dad loved the fair. It was about the only social experience we shared as a family. This was before the days of Interstate highways. So we would get up early on a Saturday morning and drive north to Gladewater, Texas, intersect U.S. Highway 80, stop for breakfast at a cafe in Big Sandy and work our way west toward Big D.
When we pulled into the fairgrounds, we saw people shoulder to shoulder, like ants in a stirred up ant pile. It was a frightening, wonderful moment for kids from the sticks. Vendors sold corn dogs, French Fries and ice cream sandwiches.
On the far side of the fairgrounds, FFA chapters from around the state featured their prize hogs, cows, goats, chickens and rabbits. There was a rodeo in the arena, people selling trade goods and souvenirs.
A man stood on the sidelines wearing overhauls and asking ladies to step on the scales after he tried to guess their weight. Another carney barked an invitation to the freak show, where he said we could see a bearded lady, a three-headed dog and Mitt Romney feigning concern for poor folks.
The wooden roller coaster was one of the main attractions. My mom would never ride it or the giant Ferris wheel, though she loved to wait for us and laugh when we came off the rides.
We had a standing rule: If you get lost, come to Big Tex and wait to be rescued. Big Tex, is a fifty-two foot statue of a cowboy wearing a ten-gallon (or maybe that’s a hundred gallon) hat. He has been a fixture at the Texas State Fair since 1952.
In the center of the grounds is the Cotton Bowl. If we were lucky, we came to the fair on Texas-OU game day. We never went to the game, but we knew we would have a good chance to see some fist fights break out between drunken young scholars.
So, if you haven’t been to the State Fair of Texas, you still have time.
Are you a fair-goer? If so, tell me about the fairs in your neck of the woods.