Howdy folks! The State Fair of Texas is back for another season of fried food and Fair Park fun, this time with new food, drinks, rides and exhibits.
“I’m looking forward to seeing if they’ve decorated anything newish or added any cool attractions,” said Hannah Freeman, a Richland College student and a frequent fairgoer.
In 2017, more than 2.2 million people visited the fair, according to BigTex.com, the official State Fair website.
Some days, like on a Monday early in the fair, saw a lower attendance about 30-thousand people. The day of the Texas vs. Oklahoma football game saw nearly 200,000 visitors. That football face-off is set for Oct. 6.
Here is the Richland Chronicle’s guide to get the most out of what’s new and what’s popular at this year’s fair.
Music is a must
Visitors should anticipate lots of live music. No matter the genre, the State Fair of Texas has something to offer everyone. Each day there are multiple stages around the grounds featuring different entertainment. In fact, there will be 24 days of free concerts on the Chevrolet Main Stage.
“The stage showcases national and regional talent of all types and has featured acts like Ludacris, Aaron Watson, Sevyn Streeter, Banda Carnival and Hunter Hayes,” according to the BigTex.com website. Local bands will be featured on smaller stages.
Food for foodies and fairgoers
From the “fried” beverages to the many food concoctions, the experience of flavor will be one to remember. Be sure to arrive with plenty of coupons a hefty appetite and the intention to devour the tasty new foods.
“I’d love to try the cotton candy taco! It’s new, experimental and worth a shot. It would be a missed opportunity to not give it a chance,” said Adrienne Aguilar, a Richland student and annual fairgoer.
A few of the featured items on the menu included the Fried Cut of Corn “elotes,” Bacon Brittle, Southern Fried Chicken Nachos and Fletcher’s Cheezy Pup. That’s right, Fletcher’s added something new to the famous Fletcher’s Corny Dog collection.
Visitors can also expect to see a new combination of drinks added to the mix. New drinks include Kool-Aid Pickle-Dilly Sangria, Frosty’s Frozen Hot Chocolate and Cherish Erbert Champagne.
Take a ride
The Texas Star Ferris wheel is back again, and the midway has added three new rides this year: The Air maxx, Haunted Castle and the Spider Y-Factor.
From the twisting to the turning, these attractions will bring visitors the guaranteed satisfaction of a thrill. The midway features more than 70 rides.
This year’s theme, “Celebrating Texas Innovation,” is behind some of the new attractions including Celebrating Texas Innovation, Innovations in Agriculture and Dallas in the time of MLK. There will also be a livestock birthing barn and a dog stunt show.
“This year, the fair will host sensory-friendly mornings every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The fair welcomes individuals with autism, in addition to individuals with other intellect disabilities, their families and everyone else who may benefit from a sensory-friendly experience,” according to BigTex.com.
Adjustments to the sound and lights on the midway will be made. Families will also be able to have a guided itinerary.
For football fans, aside from the Texas vs. Oklahoma game, the annual Prairie View A&M vs. Grambling State University game (Sept. 29), this year, Southern University will face-off against Texas Southern University on Oct. 20.
Logistics and details
The fair can be expensive, but there are discounts for food, rides and entry fees available. On Tuesdays, admission is only $9 when visitors bring an empty Dr. Pepper can. On Wednesdays, visitors donating four canned goods to the North Texas Food Bank can get in for $4. Senior citizens, 60 years of age and older, get free entry every Thursday.
Other visitors can take advantage of $9 admission when they bring any empty 20 ounce Coca-Cola product. Check the fair’s website, BigTex.com for more discounts and to buy tickets in advance. The fair runs through Oct. 21.