Friday, September 28, 2012

Totally Texas -- Welcome to 2012, Big Tex!

State Fair of Texas

Dallas Fair Park


By the time you read this, the official State Fair countdown 
should read: 00 days, 01 hours (maybe less). And if you want a good view of the opening parade down Main Street at noon today, you want to stake out a site now, if not sooner. Last year, I found hanging out at any of the numerous little lunch cafes along Main Street worked well. This year, I predict the new Main Street Garden park will be prime real estate. Parking? Just take DART. A day pass will get you to both the parade and fair.

My daughter and I are discussing multiple trips to the fair -- there’s just too much to see on in one day. And her set of lively twin boys get the fidgets when she lingers over the craft displays. So she and I may make a ladies day of it before everything closes October 21.

The official Big Tex site lists general admission prices, including the combination DART pass and fair tickets. (Last year we had to remind the clerks about this.) For even more discounts, see

Food -- weird, filling, or both, is a given at the fair. To heck with obesity epidemics -- State Fair food runs heavily to the deep-fried. This year’s winners of the Big Tex choice awards are Deep-Fried Jambalaya (which may contain a vegetable or two) and Fried Bacon Cinnamon Roll. Taste discreetly, wear comfortable shoes and tell yourself you’ll walk off the calories meandering around Fair Park’s 277 acres, watched over by the fair’s genial giant of a mascot, Big Tex.

You won’t be able to burn off a serving of fried jambalaya on the swan paddle boats, though. This year only, a Chinese Lantern Festival replaces the swans. The festival’s exhibits, lighted at night, include a 330-foot long dragon made of thousands of porcelain plates, in honor of the current year of the dragon. The boys will definitely want to see that -- their favorite animals are anything big and scary!

I also predict they’ll love the Texas Garden Railway, a demonstration of large-gauge
model trains in the Greenhouse on the Midway; the pig races; and the free-flying Birds of the World demonstration, among others.

For directions and more fair events, see  For a helping of info about  Fair Park’s museums and historical buildings, check out


Looking for more to do this weekend? More than a dozen North Texas museums offer free admission Saturday, September 29. See the complete list at

If you’re still hungry, check out the Greek Food Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, at the corner of Alpha and Hillcrest in Dallas. Runs today (opening 4 p.m.) through Sunday, (September 28-30). Food, music and dancing, crafts and more. See

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