Interesting Facts About The State Fair Of Texas

Dated: 10/08/2019

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Fall is FINALLY here in Texas, and that means it’s State Fair time! Just like the Lone Star State itself, the State Fair of Texas does everything BIG. Here are some fun and interesting facts about the State Fair to enjoy while you’re waiting in line for the next ride or fried delicacy. 

  • The first Texas State Fair was held in 1886 to promote agriculture, education, and community involvement. Today it still represents and celebrates Texas heritage and diverse culture.

  • Fair Park in Dallas spans 277 acres of land.

  • Big Tex, the giant cowboy spokesman for the fair was originally a giant Santa Claus from Kerens, Texas in 1949. The State Fair of Texas purchased him in 1951 for $750. An artist named Jack Bridges re-worked Santa to create the cowboy who was first displayed in 1952.

  • Fair Park was a designated National Historic Landmark in 1986, the fair’s 100th year.

  • The State Fair of Texas is the longest-running fair in the United States at 24 days. This year’s fair began September 27th and ends on October 20th, 2019.

  • The State Fair of Texas Youth Livestock Auction & Scholarship Program has awarded over $24 million in scholarships and awards to students. 

  • Fair Park is home to the largest collection of Art Deco structures in the world, many of which were built for the Texas Centennial celebration and funded by Rossevelt’s New Deal.

  • The State Fair of Texas employs roughly 6,000 seasonal workers each year.

  • State Fair of Texas visitors number between 2 and 3 million people every year.

  • The fairgrounds were used as a temporary army camp in 1918 due to World War I, and no fair was held that year.

  • The first Texas-OU football game on the fairgrounds was in 1929, and the Red River Rivalry game still takes place there today.

  • The Cotton Bowl was built in 1930, but was originally named Fair Park Stadium. It received a $57 million renovation in the 2000’s, expanding it to become the 9th largest football stadium in America.

  • The State Fair of Texas hosted the Texas Centennial celebration in 1936, beating out other major cities in the state. This year was also marked the park’s desegregation.

  • Fletcher’s famous Corny Dogs were introduced at the State Fair in 1942 for just 15 cents each. The famous recipe was created by a family of former Vaudeville performers named Neil & Carl Fletcher, who had previously performed at the fair. They spent 9 years perfecting their recipe and haven’t changed it since. The company is still owned by the Fletcher family today.

  • The Rogers and Hammerstein 1962 musical State Fair was based on the State Fair of Texas.

  • The iconic Texas Star Ferris Wheel was built in 1985 and is the largest Ferris wheel in the country at 20 stories tall! It was built in Italy and features 16,000 lights.

  • The first game between Prairie View A&M vs. Grambling State, known as the State Fair Classic, was played at the Cotton Bowl in 1984, the 2nd large college football rivalry. But the battle between the 2 schools’ marching bands may be a bigger draw than the game itself!

  • Famous performers at the State Fair of Texas include Elvis Presley and The Beatles.

  • The Big Texas Choice Awards for creative fried foods were established in 2005, and the first winner was the fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Other winners throughout the years have included fried butter, fried Coke, and even fried Beer.

  • An electrical fire on the last day of the fair in 2012 burned Big Tex down to his steel frame, resulting in tears and broken hearts across the great state of Texas.

  • Two companies- SRO and Texas Scenic out of San Antonio rebuilt Big Tex before the 2013 fair.

  • The State Fair of Texas hosts the largest new car show in the Southwest, showing off over 400 models.

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413 Maple Leaf Lane, McKinney Texas

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The State Fair of Texas official website:

Friends of Fair Park


Fletcher’s Corny Dogs

D Magazine 

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Lisa Ellard

With a background in marketing and journalism, Lisa Ellard is well-equipped to offer each of her clients savvy business advice, while always keeping their lifestyle needs a priority. She is a detail-....

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