This past weeken,d I was in Dallas for the 5th stop on the Tailgating Tour. The Red River Rivalry takes place every year on the fairgrounds of The State Fair of Texas. The Cotton Bowl holds the game between Texas and Oklahoma, but the fair is full of other activities for all ages! This was my first trip to the Texas State Fair, and I was excited to see if everything was really bigger in Texas!
The State Fair of Texas lasts over three weeks and since 1886 has provided the residents of Dallas and Texans with fun for the entire family. The day before the game, I went to the fairgrounds to see what this fair was all about.
With this being my first time to Dallas and the fair, I was a little unsure on how to get there. I ended up taking the DART ( I will explain late in the week what that is) and with the help of these nice Oklahoma fans, I was able to arrive at the fair. On Texas vs Oklahoma weekend, the fair was filled with Texas burnt orange and Oklahoma crimson.
The first thing I did upon arriving at the fair was buy my coupon, the currency of the fair. You can’t play games, ride rides or eat any food unless you have these coupons. But don’t worry, there are plenty of coupon booths all over the fair. (Later in the week I will show you how long the lines for these coupons can get.)
With tickets in hand I was ready to explore the fair. I noticed Big Tex from a distance and had to make my way over to him.
Right next to Big Tex I came across my first and quite possibly most famous food item of the fair.
This is not your run on the mill corn dog. This is a Corny Dog. In 1942 Carl and Neil Fletcher debuted their creation at the fair and it has been around every year since. It is debated if this was the birth place of the corn dog. Regardless of whether this is true or not, I doubt there is a better place to have a corn dog.
I don’t know what it is that the Fletcher’s do to make their Corny Dogs so special, but whatever it is, it works. The corn batter is crunchy and delicious, that combined with the hot dog inside and served on a stick make it the perfect walking around fair food. I will cover a lot of food from the fair, but if you are only going to eat on food item at the fair then I would say make it a Corny Dog.
After the Corny Dog, I moved onto the 2010 Big Tex Choice Award Best Taste Winner. The Texas Fried Fritos Pie.
I didn’t know what to expect when ordering the Fritos Pie.What I was given were several fried lumps of fritos chips and taco meet that were encased in batter and fried.
When sour cream and salsa were added something absolutely delicious was created. I can see how this won best Taste.
Although eating at the fair is probably the most common activity, there are also dozens of games to play! Whether it involves shooting a water pistol, trowing a ring or ball on or into an assortment of different items, the prizes were all the same.
Stuffed animals! The animals were offered in a variety of sizes, but my favorite to see were the over sized ones.
Adults have no problem carrying these larger than life prizes, but the funniest site was seeing..
little kids carrying animals that were larger than they were!
If live animals are more of your thing, then the livestock at the fair is definitely a place you want to make a visit to. Here you can take a look at..
Prize winning pigs..
Just keep an eye out for pigs crossing the road.
There are also competitions for donkeys…
These animals were cool, but with this being Texas and beef country, the cows were what I really wanted to see.
This was the first cow I saw upon walking into the cattle building. Look at those horns! The Texas Longhorn is known for its long horns and is the mascot of the University of Texas. I will show you Bevo, the actual Texas Longhorn later in the week.
My grandfather owns cows on his farm, but I have never seen him treat his cows like the ones at the fair. These show cows were being treated like beauty queens. They were bathed, vacuumed dry…
and given haircuts. I can’t imagine how long it takes to clipper cut an entire cow. I had never been around show cows at a fair before, but I must say that the experience was fascinating. The amount of work and attention to detail that is given to each cow is impressive. It was a fascinating world to walk into and I learned a lot.
After spending time with the livestock, I walked around the fair some more and came across a variety of interesting foods.
Tornado Taters anyone?
What about funnel cake? Or…
Turkey Legs? For Dinner I decided to try something new!
Gator was quite tasty. I hate to say it tastes like chicken, but it does somewhat have that taste. A slightly fishy tasty chicken. This Gator was loaded with cajun spices and grilled with onions and bell peppers on a kabob. The heat of the cajun seasonings were great. The perfect compliment to this meal was a nice cup of…
Fresh squeezed lemonade. If the Corny dog was the food you have to taste, then this lemonade is a drink you have to have. It has the perfect balance of sweet and sour. Delicious and refreshing after walking around the fair all day.
At the fair, there was one food that I was the most intrigued to try. It was located inside the food court. The food court is pretty easy to find. It is inside of the building with the large golden tower.
The food court has hundreds of food items, but there was one that I was looking for.
2010 Big Tex Choice Winner Fried Beer!
Looks like pasta right ? Well it is far from that. I had huge expectations for this dish. I love beer and I love fried foods, so this could be the best or worse thing I have ever tried.
Unfortunately, the fried beer was an incredible let down. It was served with the kind of cheese you get with concession stand nachos, that wasn’t the let down. What killed the dish for me was the warm beer inside. I love fried foods, but the taste of warm beer killed any chances of greatness for this dish. I guess I have found an exception to the rule that frying will make any food better. Beer and fried foods are great independently, but they should never be mixed.
Although fried beer was a failure, fried bacon was a success! The batch I received was a little over fried, but the concept is definitely a winner! Granted you will probably feel sick if you eat all of this but it is definitely worth a taste.
As the sun set, the fair began to take on new life. There was a parade that went right past Big Tex.
The fair at night was a pretty amazing spectacle. The colors of the rides were beautiful to watch.
The coolest ride was the Texas Star.
This ferris wheel is 212 feet in diameter and is the largest ferris wheel in North America.
Whether it be day or
night, the Texas Star is pretty difficult to miss.
With my first day complete, I was both exhausted and impressed. There is so much to see and do that you could spend several days at the fair. I leave you with a parting shot of the Cotton Bowl. Later in the week I will bring you what I discovered on game day at the Red River Rivalry. I promise you there will be plenty of burnt orange, crimson, and a delicious fried food I could not find on the first day!
Are there other great State Fairs that I need to visit? What is your favorite fair food?