I could probably count on one hand how many years in my entire life that I have missed the State Fair of Texas. When you’re born in Dallas and raised just east of the city, it’s just part of your fall and you tend to develop some fair traditions that your fall just doesn’t feel right without. I take my fair traditions very seriously. My family even has a favorite entrance and a specific route we take through the fair grounds that takes us to our favorite food and retail vendors, ending with the midway so we don’t have to carry those big midway prizes the whole day. It’s the epitome of “this ain’t our first rodeo.” We even have a few secret bathrooms that we know of that never have a line.
With no 2020 fair season, there are a lot of things I’m really going to miss. Sure, there are a lot of “faux” fair experiences happening all over Dallas, but it’ll never be the same. Here’s what I’ll miss the most.
Fletcher’s Corny Dogs
Is there anything more “State Fair of Texas” than Big Tex? Yes! I mean, one could really argue that you didn’t even go to the state fair if you didn’t have an Original Fletcher’s Corny Dog. (Not a corn dog, a CORNY dog. Big difference) Even though Fletcher’s recognized what was coming and started having pop ups all over North Texas several months ago, nothing will ever compare to crunching into that first bite of a piping hot fresh Fletcher’s on the fair grounds with the fair happening around you. It’s literally the first thing we do to start our fair days and that’s why it’s first on my list. I’ve already been to a few of their pop ups and they are definitely still delicious, but just not quite the same. For my tribe, it’s such a rite of passage that we documented both of our girls’ first bites. Bless your heart if you’ve never experienced it.
Fair Fun With Friends
My husband and I typically get ourselves season passes to the fair because we go a few times without the kids. The last few years I have gotten to have a fair day with just my girlfriends and that has become one of my favorite fair days of all. Don’t get me wrong… fair dates and family fair days are some of my most favorite days of the year. I love my husband and my babies and our fair traditions, but there’s just something so magical about wandering around the fairgrounds with my friends doing whatever I want and not carrying anyone else’s stuff. I know the moms feel me on that one.
Texas is known to be hot. And it’s still pretty warm in the fall, but in September and early October when the fair takes place we tend to get a lot of rain. It’s from all those tropical storms churning in the gulf this time of year. The 2018 fair season was almost a total bust with most of the 25 day season being total downpour days. The fair happens rain or shine, and the rain definitely never stops my family. I actually really like the moody midway nights after a rainy day. They’re probably my favorite of all the times we go to the fair. I can hear the fog horn on the Lady Bug ride now just thinking about it.
Finding Texas Makers
One of my very favorite spots in the fair is the GoTexan market in the Food and Fiber building. In it you will find all sorts of goodies from Texas makers. Some of the amazing Texas brands that I’ve discovered at the fair that I really love and you should check out are Whiski Designs, Alamo Candy Co., and Sasha’s Hand Poured. And pro tip… you can get bottled sodas and other snacks in the Go Texan market that you don’t have to buy with fair tickets.
When you grow up in Dallas county, each fair season you get a ticket at school to attend the fair and many school districts give students a “fair day” off to use that ticket. Unfortunately, the district my girls attend doesn’t give the kids a day off and the ticket they provide is for entrance on a Sunday only. But we’re fair pros, and the pros don’t go on Sundays. We liked to go during the week when the fair offers discounts and there’s much smaller crowds, so my girls always get a day to play hooky and go get their fair on. That picture above was taken on a Tuesday. During the weekend, that same space would be a sea of people and take you 15 minutes to pass through. No thanks!
But of all the things I’ll miss with no State Fair of Texas this year, what I’ll miss the most is the amazing family memories we make. We always make sure to stop by our favorite photo booth, Photo Wagon, at some point in the day to document the fair fun. I’m going to love looking back on those years from now. And that Big Tex picture IS pretty important too.
Leave us a comment with your favorite fair memory. And follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more everyday adventures and to see a few of the “fair” events happening around town over the next few weeks.