As of yesterday, this Marylander is officially a Texan. I’ve been here for over 2 and a half years now, but finally made it to the famous State Fair of Texas yesterday! My first time did not disappoint.
Honestly, I wasn’t really looking forward to it. All I’d heard about it was that there is a ton of fried food (which I wouldn’t be able to enjoy since I’m gluten free), large crowds (which I can’t stand… I’m a naturally very fast walker, and being stuck behind slow people in a crowd drives me crazy!), and rides for children (we don’t have kids).
If you’re not a Texan, you might not realize just how big of a deal the State Fair is. And I used to be right there with you- those Maryland fairs aren’t very big or exciting at all. But here, a lot of work places actually give you a half or full day off to go, schools give students a fair day, and so on. It’s a pretty big thing, and it lasts for a full month 🙂
Well there’s one day left- if you haven’t been, here are ten reasons why you’ve got to make it there tomorrow!
1. It’s a Texas tradition
Like I said, it’s a pretty big deal here. It’s always held at Fair Park in Dallas, and people come from across the state to attend. The fair makes it worth the drive. Not only is it an all day thing, but a lot of people get memberships so that they can go over and over again throughout the month.
2. The spectacular view of Dallas
My all time favorite ride at any place is the Ferris wheel. I’m a sucker for a great view, and the Ferris wheel at the State Fair, called the Texas Star, gives you just that. You can see downtown on the right hand side of this picture 🙂
Riding the Texas Star is 16 coupons per person. I’ll touch a bit more on the coupons further down.
3. The notorious food
Most french fries are gluten free, so that is exactly what I got (fun fact: fries are one of my favorite foods).
But most of the foods you’ll find at the fair are deep fried and either sound really weird or really delicious.
Fried butter, fried Dr.Pepper, fried pickles, fried Oreos, fried cake batter, fried twinkies, fried beer, fried chicken noodle soup, fried fruit loops… the list goes on and on! If you can fry it, they probably sell it!!
Funnel cake bacon quesoburgers sound particularly unhealthy but delicious!! Try one for me 🙂
There are also giant turkey legs, funnel cake, cotton candy, ice cream, etc- all of your typical fair food.
4. All of the rides and games
The rides section of the state fair is called Midway.
Here you can find the Texas Star Ferris Wheel, plenty of rides and games. Something to note- you pay for almost everything in coupons ($.50 per coupon), but not the games. For the games, you have to buy a separate pass, which you can do at the fair.
5. The free entertainment
You get live performances for just the cost of your entrance ticket!
And some of the performers are big time- like Maren Morris, who performed on opening day!
Performances are going on throughout the day, and main performers go on the Chevrolet Mainstage. You can see the full lineup here.
6. You might learn something new
Not only are there live performances to entertain you, but animal races, educational talks, and exhibits, like the Snakes of Texas exhibit or the Remembering WWI exhibit.
7. The beer & wine varieties
If all of that fried food leaves you thirsty, first stay hydrated by drinking your water, then (if you’re older than 21, of course) try sipping on something fun 🙂
These are two very cool exhibits at the fair: the Magnolia Beer Garden and the State Fair Wine Garden. They feature wines and beers from the world, with a huge variety of types and flavors.
8. Got a significant other? You can make it romantic!
One thing that I love about Fair Park is the swan boat rides on the lake. How romantic is that? When we’ve done the swan rides in the past it has been cash only, so make sure you bring some just in case.
And if you’re not in the mood for a swan ride but still want to be romantic, you can win your lady a stuffed animal at the games 🙂
9. The childlike joy
Like I mentioned earlier, I actually wasn’t that excited about going to the State Fair. I just figured, well, I blog about local adventures, and the State Fair is crucial if you’re living in Dallas.
But when I stepped onto the fair grounds, I immediately got a giddy, childlike feeling. Yes, the weather was a perfect 75 degrees, it was the start of the weekend, and I was with my man. But even so, it was the atmosphere- filled with fun and energy. You’re reminded of going to amusement parks, Disney World, etc. if you did that growing up, and get happy!
10. The beauty of Fair Park
Fair Park is a gorgeous place. When you’re not surrounded by games, vendors, and concerts, you can see lakes, fountains, sculptures, and Roman-style buildings!
The Texas Discover Gardens are on the grounds of Fair Park, featuring over 7 acres of organic plants and flowers, and a two-story butterfly house!
BONUS: 11. The corny dog
The last reason you’ve got to go is for the corny dog. Yes, I’m gluten free. And yes, I already included a section on the notorious food. But from what I’ve heard, the corny dogs are in a category of their own. So if for no other reason, go for the corny dog so you can taste for yourself and see what all the hype is about. I hear the long line is worth it!
So now that I’ve convinced you to go, here’s some other stuff to know:
What to bring
- Tickets if you purchased them beforehand (you can get them here). You can get tickets and coupons at the park if you haven’t purchased them online.
- Cash- some random vendors are cash only. Also, a lot of parking is cash only
- Water- don’t get dehydrated from all the fun and salty food!
- Camera- capture all of those State Fair memories!
What to wear
- sunglasses/ hat/ sunscreen- protect yourself from that hot Texas sun
- shoes you can walk in, because you’re going to be doing a ton of walking
- something comfortable- you’re probably going to be at the fair for at least a few hours!
How to get there
Good news! Getting there is easy!
This was also my first time taking the DART ever. I was pleasantly surprised! It was easy to take, you can get an all day pass for just $5, and it drops you off right at the entrance to the fair. It couldn’t be simpler! And you don’t have to deal with the hassle of parking, finding your car, walking all the way to the park entrance, etc.
Everyone else does it, but even so, it wasn’t overly crowded. It’s definitely worth taking public transportation!
Questions? Comments? There’s plenty of room for that down below!