DALLAS - The gates are now open at in Fair Park and Big Tex is offering his famous friendly greeting to everyone visiting this year’s State Fair of Texas.
The annual opening day parade, a Texas tradition, started at high noon. The parade of colorful floats, marching bands and drill teams this year rolled from Houston and Main streets in Downtown Dallas to Main Street and Good-Latimer Expressway in Deep Ellum.
People lined up early with umbrellas to be the first ones at the fair. This year the State Fair of Texas celebrates 131 years of food, festivities and family fun.
In addition to Big Tex, the fair will feature “The Champ.” He’s a 10-foot tall steer painted like Clifford, the steer that won last year’s youth livestock competition.
There will more than 100 daily live performances, 70 midway rides and games, the livestock center, a petting zoo, auto show and, of course, a tempting variety of delicious food options at the fair this year.
Fletcher's Original State Fair Corny Dogs is celebrating its 75th anniversary by giving away corny dogs to the first 75 customers on opening day and each Friday.
Some food vendors said this year their goal is to have fun while giving back. Concessionaire Clint Probst said he will donate part of the proceeds from his award-winning Gulf Coast Fish Bowl to Hurricane Harvey relief. He said he’s not the only one trying to help.
“Now Tom Grace I understand is doing the same sort of thing with his queso burger and I understand a couple of other vendors have come on board,” Clint Probst said. “The fair family is a big family, slightly competitive but mostly happy. So it’s nice to hear that people are jumping on board and doing something nice for the community. “
The owners of the Texas Star Ferris Wheel are also donating 20 cents for every rider to the farmers and rangers in Texas who were affected by Harvey. The Texas Farm Credit Organization will match the final donation.
Big Tex will wear a button on his shirt supporting Texans. Fairgoers can buy a smaller version with proceeds going directly towards Harvey relief.
All active and retired military veterans are able to get in for free with proper identification for Military Appreciation Day on opening day.
Steve Noviello said there are actually lots of discounts and deals for fairgoers this year. If you’re paying full price for a ticket, you’re doing it wrong.
The fair runs through Oct. 22.