Hey y’all, in case you don’t know, the State Fair of Texas is going on right now! There is so much to see and do, not to mention EAT! It usually runs from last Friday of September and most of October, and it’s 24 days of pure fun!
The State Fair of Texas is known for its super powers to deep fry just about anything and make it taste incredible. The food choices are not only delicious but also incredibly creative, with food contests and winners each year. This year we decided to take my Mother and Sister in Law because they’ve never been to the State Fair, and we just can’t have that!!!
The morning started out cool and cloudy, and we arrived right when gates opened. I love early mornings at the Fair, it’s nice and quiet. We all arrived hungry with empty bellies ready for a day of feasting. There is so much food at the Fair but sadly we couldn’t eat it all! Below I’ve listed all our 2017 food favorites and activities!
Drum roll please…..Here’s what we ate
Deep Fried Cuban Roll, filled with slow roasted pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickles and a special dipping sauce. This was the first thing I ate and it was absolutely incredible!
Deep Fried Twinkie, delicious and everything you’d expect it to be.
Fried Mac and cheese, I wasn’t expecting to like this but I really did. The center was creamy with slightly chewy macaroni noodles. Yum.
Fried Cannoli Bites, this was so good! I only got a small bite. I intended to get another before we left but I forgot, major bummer.
Gulf Coast Fish Bowl, this was just so cute and colorful I couldn’t resist. It’s complete with a nerd candy rock bottom and swimming swedish fish.
Deep Fried Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, I didn’t get to try this, it was our girls prize for letting us relax in the wine section for a bit.
Oreo Beer, hmm…this one was interesting. If your short on tickets I’d skip it.
Fried Butter, it’s a classic and it shows how serious we Texans are about our fried foods. Nothing is off limits. It’s the texture of a biscuit with a liquid butter center, topped with honey, cinnamon, and sugar. You must eat it in one bite or else risk liquid butter running down your chin.
Deep Fried Fruit Loops, I think I was the most excited out of everyone to try this. The little kid in me just had to have it. It was kind of like a fried rolled up crepe with a creamy fruity center, topped with Fruit Loops of course.
Fried Milk and Oreo Cookies, this was Brian’s favorite and my Sister in Law Amy’s favorite!
Pinot Noir Popcorn, this was addicting and very hard to stop eating!
The Fresh Pineapple Float was a refreshing and fun non-alcoholic creamy drink to try.
The Original Fletcher’s Corny Dog. This classic fried goodness was invented right here at the good ol’ State Fair of Texas. This is what happens when somebody hands me a corny dog. I instantly take a bite. It’s a reflex….then I remember I need to take a photo. Oops! Are you team ketchup or team mustard?
Fried Thanksgiving Dinner, another fun favorite from past years. Skip the gravy and go straight for the cranberry sauce for dipping!
The Tamale Donut, this one is perfect when you just can’t take any more sugar. This deep fried pork filled tamale donut is topped with a creamy jalapeño sauce.
The Fried Smores must be mentioned. It’s one of my favorite fair foods, but all 6 of us devoured it so fast there was no time to take a picture! The Fried snickers bar was also gone in a flash. Also unseen is the many Funnel Cake Ales Brian had, he really likes those. Made by Community Beer Co. right here in Dallas, it’s a rich buttery beer with a hint of funnel cake served in a pint glass rimmed with powdered sugar.
Things we did
There is so much to do at the Fair besides eat! We didn’t get to see and do everything but we certainly stayed busy all day! I think one of our favorite activities was relaxing at a table under these gorgeous trees while drinking and snacking!
The fair grounds are beautifully landscaped, clean and very well maintained. We admired the beautiful gardens and enjoyed people watching.
Riding the swan boats on the lagoon was a hit.
We watched the pig races, and the little piggies were so cute. It’s a short show, so young kids should do great.
Later in the day the sun came out and Big Tex was happy.
Over in the greenhouse we saw beautiful gardens complete with a train circling about.
The greenhouse had lots of educational information. We learned about plants and some Texas history.
Over in the corner we found Farmer Mike carving pumpkins, he’s amazing! They call him the Pumpkin Picasso.
No trip to the State Fair is complete without riding the Texas Skyway. It’s a family favorite!
These gondolas ride 65 feet up in the air so you can take in incredible views of Fair Park. It’s also an easy way to zip over to the the ride section of the fair without the long walk.
The Texas Star Ferris wheel is certainly an icon. It’s the largest Ferris wheel in America which is why I don’t ride it. Ok, years ago I did manage to ride it…..it’s all a blur. Never again…I don’t do Ferris wheels! I now admire the Texas Star from the ground.
Over in the Midway there are tons of rides for all ages and plenty of fun games to play.
My girls (on the left) always ride the Crazy Mouse ride. I skipped it this year, and I think my chiropractor would approve.
We also played with cute baby animals. There were some baby goats in the Go Texan Pavilion, which also has a market with samples of Texas-made candy, salsas, soups, dips, etc. There is also a bee colony in a display case there next to the Texas honey section. We always stop to try to find the queen and say hi. You can also check out all the show bunnies in the Pan Am Arena, as well as other prize-winning livestock like pigs, goats, sheep, and cattle over in the Livestock Judging Pavilion.
In the Creative Arts building I always like to check out the butter sculpture! I just love anything butter related. Every year it’s something different.
The Art exhibit is another fun thing to visit. There are so many different categories!
Quilts, photography, creative canned goods, and my favorite is all the funny quirky art on display!
The Texas Wine Tasting section is a cozy little shaded area with lots of charm and several wineries to pick from. Bring your I.D. because carding is very strict and each license must be scanned.
I loved the umbrellas over the tables! It was visually stunning against the blue sky.
The Texas Auto Show is fun if you’re interested in a new car or you just want to play around with them!
A Few Tips
The Fair grounds are huge. You will be walking A LOT. Wear comfortable shoes and be sure to take some rest stops when necessary. You can find plenty of benches and chairs around the grounds.
Unless watching football is your goal, avoid the Texas-OU Football game weekend, which is usually the second-to-last weekend. It gets super crazy!!
Check out www.bigtex.com before arriving to find out about concert dates, special events, as well as admission specials.
Arrive early in the day. Afternoons get incredibly crowded, morning’s are ideal, especially weekdays.
Bring more money than you think you need, all those tickets add up quickly. Whatever your budget is double it, I promise it’s worth it. Most vendors must be paid with coupons that you buy at any of the well-available coupon booths, but some vendors only take cash, so you will need some of both. You can buy coupons with cash or a credit/debit card.
Check the weather first, you can experience some cool days at the Fair, but most likely it will be hot. Dressing for the weather and sunscreen is essential.
The Fair is fun for all ages, so by all means bring your little ones with you. There are lots of fun activities perfect for young children.
The last thing I want to talk about is parking. There are 13 entrance gates all around the perimeter of the fair with lots of parking nearby. Everywhere you can park you will have to pay, anywhere from $5 to $20, depending on the location. Arriving early is essential to getting good parking. Another option that we have tried in the past with success is the Dallas Transit. The Yellow-Line train stops right in front of the front gate #4, and you can park at any train stop (for free I think). If you park at a stop on the Yellow Line, it’s a straight shot, or if you are on a different line (even the Trinity River Express train from Fort Worth) then you can connect to a Yellow Line train at the American Airlines Center. Last I checked an unlimited day pass was $10 per person, but it could be different now. It’s a little more expensive than driving and parking at the Fair, but it’s sometimes worth it to avoid the traffic.
I hope you enjoyed our adventures at the State Fair of Texas and found some useful information! There’s plenty of shopping, concerts and more activities that we just ran out of time for. With the last day on October 22nd you still have plenty of time to have your own “fantastic fried food” adventures! Have fun and let me know your favorite foods because we sure didn’t get to them all!