Friday, October 3, 2014

Totally Texas -- Howdy, folks! It’s Big Tex!

I’m glad my daughter and I didn’t wait to visit the State Fair yesterday, when near hurricane-force winds roared through (amazingly, the storm did little damage to the fairgrounds themselves.) No, the weather was beautiful when we visited. Just like today.

Regular admission is $17 for adults, $13 for children under 48 inches tall and for senior ages 60 and over. However, there are numerous discounts. Check or search under “State Fair discounts” for bargains like today’s admission coupons for $12 entry from Kiss-FM. I had free tickets, courtesy of my membership at one of Fair Park’s several museums.

The money we saved on tickets went for food instead. Not the new-every-year fried fare. As far as my family’s concerned, the State Fair would come to a screeching halt if we didn’t eat our annual State Fair corny dogs. This year, we opted for a new twist¾ cheese and jalapeno pepper-flavored corny dogs. The cheese and peppers are incorporated into the hot dog before it’s dipped in cornmeal batter and, of course, deep-fried. On a scale of one to ten for spiciness, my daughter rated the hybrid corndogs an eight. I would have said a seven. Warm enough that you need something cold to chase them down is just hot enough.

Since it was a girls’ day out for us (her husband at work, kids still at school) we concentrated on the arts and crafts building. She loved the amazing needlework¾ needlepoint and embroidery delicate enough to make us wonder if the makers had gone blind in the process. Male members of the family, we decided, would home in on the LEGOs and military hobbyists’ work.

I marveled at the gardens and landscaping. The discovery a few years ago of natural springs under Fair Park gave landscapers the ability to keep flowers flourishing without running afoul of city watering restrictions.

We mourned the absence of the Chinese Lantern Festival that graced the Fair the past two years. But the vacant space made space for a new Kids’ BoardWalk. And meanwhile, at the park’s lovely artificial lagoon, we were glad to see the swan boats back in business. And the new Big Tex is settling in nicely, with a fresh shirt for this year’s fair.

Because we were short of time, we drove and parked ($15 for parking in designated “State Fair” lots). When we have more time, we usually take DART, whose Green Line whisks us straight to the fair’s front gate.

Each year when the fair opens, it seems it will last forever. But don’t wait too long. Come October 19, it’s gone for another year.

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