The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

Big Tex Is back!

The Texas State Fair and award winners

Many people are aware of the Lone Star State of Texas and the reputations we uphold. One of which is stated best by the saying, “Everything is bigger in Texas.” 

While this motto originally referred to the geographical size of our beloved state, it has transformed into an expression that describes numerous things about Texas and its citizens. Big state, big personalities, big hats, and not to mention, we are the home of a larger-than-life mechanical statue that makes an appearance once a year at the Texas State Fair named Big Tex. 

The Texas State Fair yields the ultimate combination of food, fun, patriotism, and unity among Texas citizens – as well as visiting outsiders from neighboring states. 

Starting on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023 at 10 a.m. the fair gates will open to the public for a whopping 24 consecutive days, making The State Fair of Texas the reigning champion for the longest-running fair in the nation. 

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Spanning throughout the 24 day time period, the fair offers a multitude of activities, exhibits, rides, and food; it is practically impossible to tackle everything in a single day; hence the reason why some individuals get season passes to take on the entire fair over the course of a few weeks. 

 Classic fair rides and games are offered at nearly every turn inside the gates of the park, and are sure to be enjoyed by younger children and adults alike. 

 “The State Fair ‘Midway’ features more than 70 rides including the iconic 212 ft. Texas Star® Ferris wheel, the Kidway, the 500 ft. Top o’ Texas Tower and the 1914 Dentzel Carousel. In addition, we have the Kidway area, featuring rides suitable for children 2 years of age and older,” the State Fair of Texas website discloses. 

  In addition to the countless rides, there are many activities that take place on the grounds of the fair including live music, barn animal showcases, a petting zoo, the creative arts building, a Chevrolet automobile showcase, the rodeo, and more. 

 At the creative arts building, the walls are lined with display cases of artwork, photography pieces, and jars of every canned vegetable, relish, fruit preserve, marmalade, and jam imaginable. However, a blue ribbon is only placed by items or art that won the category for that respective year. 

 “From origami to canning and sewing to Lego models, the Arts & Crafts competitions has categories for all just waiting for you to take on the challenge,” the fair website urges. 

 In addition to the masterful artsy aspect of the fair, there is plenty of music to be enjoyed as well. This year, the fair has a stacked live music lineup on every single day of the fair where special guests like Lonestar, Lil Jon, and Ceelo Green will be making an appearance. 

 Perhaps the most gratifying, delightful, and delicious part of the entire State Fair of Texas is the countless, quirky food items, beverages, and treats that they have available spread across the park. 

 Millions of fairgoers – including myself – head to the park annually solely for the food that is offered only once a year at the fair itself. 

 Moreover, each year before the fair commences, there is a statewide competition for three different categories of fair foods that people creatively imagine then bring to life: Best Taste Savory, Best Taste Sweet, and Most Creative. 

 The creme de la creme foods in each of these three categories get ultimate bragging rights for winning their allotted title, and flocks of people run to their stand when the gates open to get a taste of the best of the best foods and treats at the fair.

 “Since 2005, the Big Tex Choice Awards contest has solidified the State Fair of Texas as the top Fair for great food creations. Each year, State Fair concessionaires fry up tasty and unique foods for a chance to become a finalist in the annual Big Tex Choice Awards competition. Everything from Fried Beer to Fried Peaches and Cream has made the cut to become a part of the exclusive club of fried food creations,” the State Fair of Texas website explains. 

 This year, the winner for the Best Taste Savory category is Michelle Le who created a dish called “Deep Fried Pho.” The Best Taste Sweet category has been won by Stephen El Gidi, who earned the championship with his creation of the “Biscoff® Delight.” Lastly, Cody and Lauren Hays emerged triumphantly in the Most Creative category with their invention and delivery of their “Bourbon Banana Caramel Sopapillas.”

Along with this year’s winners, a plethora of classic and unique fair foods are constantly offered all throughout the park, along with most of the Big Tex Choice Award winners from previous years, who likely will have a banner above their booth announcing their past victory. 

Cotton candy, corn dogs, turkey legs, and funnel cake booths can be located around the grounds of the park, as well as not-so-classic food stands such as Chan’s Chicken-On-a-Stick, Deep-Fried Thanksgiving Dinner balls, and Pearlie’s Southern Kitchen Deep Fried Collard Greens, Smoked Turkey, and Gouda Soul Rolls. 

Needless to say, there is something for everyone at The State Fair of Texas, and it might be a worthwhile trip to head to the downtown Dallas area to revel in admiration and bewilderment at what the fair has to offer. 

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Campbell Burnett
Campbell Burnett, Content Editor

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