North Texas Daily

How to be best-in-state at the fair

How to be best-in-state at the fair

How to be best-in-state at the fair
October 10
14:33 2013

Christina Ulsh / Senior Staff Writer

Howdy, folks. Welcome to the State Fair of Texas, where you can get everything fried, including your condiments, such as Nutella and butter. Say goodbye to your money and hello to heartburn.

From ostrich races to light shows, the State Fair offers novelty events along with its bizarre fried food options. The fair is held at Fair Park in Dallas and will last until Oct. 20.

Last year’s production brought in $36.6 million in revenue from rides and concessions, second highest to the record set in 2010. Of that number, $1.1 million was from livestock revenue.

After 60-year-old icon Big Texas burned at the stake last October, the main focus of this fair will be to come back stronger than ever, State Fair president Errol McKoy said.

The theme is “One and Only,” in the spirit of celebrating a new Big Tex.

“Where tragedy prevails, newness and success prevail,” McKoy said. “There will be a lot about Big Tex, as you’d expect.”

McKoy shared details about Big Tex’s new outfit – he will be decked out in a redesigned Dickies shirt and Lucchese cowboy boots, unveiled at 2 p.m. opening day. Surrounding the 52-foot tall cowboy is a new sitting wall and photos of his progression over the past 60 years. There is also a multi-floor Big Tex exhibit in the Hall of State and several trucks selling Big Tex memorabilia.

Like any good event, there are ways around spending every last cent you have. With the help of vendors and fair-goers, here is a list of how to have your dough and fry it too.

Bring a cooler

While you can’t have glass or alcohol, you can bring your own drinks and food. Of course, the main point of the fair is to eat every possible fried thing there is. However, you can buy a 12-pack of canned soda pre-fair to avoid paying the same price for one bottled pop.

Take the train or carpool

Avoid the stress of Dallas traffic and let someone else do the navigating.

The Denton train will take you directly to the fairgrounds. Either of these options allows you to lessen your carbon footprint.

It’s $10 for a round-trip ticket on the train. It’s $15 plus the cost of gas to park at the fair (or $10 if you park in a sketchy dirt lot), which is easier to swallow with three people throwing in on it.

Go on a Tuesday

Drink a can of Dr. Pepper and bring that empty aluminum gold with you on a Tuesday. Your $17 ticket turns into a $5 ticket. This is the easiest access to a sweet entrance fee, unless you’re a senior citizen, in which case just show up on Thursdays and get in free.

Ride the Ferris Wheel

The ferris wheel at the State Fair of Texas. Photo by Kelsey Littlefield / Intern

This is a “two birds with one stone” sort of thing. This ride lasts about 10 minutes and you can see the entire fair from it. The Chinese Lantern Festival costs $14 for each person to get into. The Ferris wheel costs $7 per person. You might not get up close to the lights, but you get a birds-eye view of it for half the price.

Scout your options

Some of the same foods and drinks are available at different stands at different costs. If you can contain yourself, take a look around and see where the best deal is. The beer hunt has been done for you: the cheapest beer is going to be at BW’s Famous Fried Ribs in the food court, at 8 coupons (or $4). They have Miller Light, Budweiser, Bud Light, Dos Equis, Michelob Ultra and Shiner.

Go online

You can check out the daily calendar and customize it to see what’s going on in a realm you care about. Food samplings? Story time? Livestock competitions? Arts and crafts? At bigtex.com you can get the ins and outs on the free attractions.

Sunday through Thursday, the fair is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. General admission is $17, unless you’re less than 48 inches tall or over the age of 59, in which case it’s $13.

The most important icon of the Texas State Fair, Big Tex, is now new and improved. The State Fair of Texas is open now through Oct. 20. Feature photo by Kelsey Littlefield / Intern

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