Fall is here, as if you weren't already celebrating it's return yourself or hadn't already read me mention that 105 times on my blog or Instagram the last 2 weeks. With fall comes fall traditions. For many Texan families & friends the Texas State Fair (or State Fair of Texas) is a fall tradition. I grew up in the Austin area & for some reason my family just never made it up to the fair. After seeing Justin & Catherine's posts on their time at the fair a few years ago, I was set on going one day when we were back in Texas for fall. This year, we're back, so the fair was put on the bucket list. We planned to be in Dallas to celebrate Zachary's 29th birthday with his family this weekend, which luckily, happened to also fall on the opening weekend of the Texas State Fair. So, today, in celebration of Zachary's birthday, we all jumped in the van & headed to the State Fair to mark off a line on our bucket list & introduce me to the fair, a tradition, as a Texan, I should have already known!
If you've heard anything about the TX State Fair you've probably heard about it being the "fried food capital of the world." While that title is probably a stretch, there is TONS of fried food to try. Along with all the other fair favorites like turkey legs, fresh lemonade, beer on draft & chocolate dipped bananas. The fair isn't all just food though. There are tons of showrooms, performances, games, rides & shopping areas.
The tickets are $18 a person to get in. (Plus $15 for parking.) Once you get in to the park, you can buy coupons which you use to buy food & drinks & to ride rides. There are also special nights where tickets are half off or discounted. You can check out the Big Tex website for schedules & ticket info.
We entered on MLK Blvd at Gate 6 which was lined with garden sculptures, landscaping exhibits, where local landscapers showed off their work, plants & flowers. Gate 6 is also where the Texas Discovery Gardens are located, which is now a "to do" on my Dallas list. :) (Love those lists!)
Zachary's mother & father, Teresa & Steve. :) We're so thankful for them taking us to the fair today!
Zachary's excited to get the party started at the fair. Ha. He was actually only a little excited, as he grew up going. I on the other hand was jumping up & down a little bit.
Once in the gates there are tons of 'Passport to Texas' map & guides available. Check out the list of New Foods of 2015! We didn't try anything from that list but we did try some that are on the Big Tex Choice Awards for 2015.
As with all fairs, there were tons of toys, collectibles & souvenirs available to buy all over the park.
It can be a little overwhelming when you first walk in. There are so many booths set up with so many things to look at & try. The food booths were the most overwhelming to me. Haha. There's just so many unique things available. Like above, a funnel cake ale. We wanted to try this ale but decided to go with something a little more interesting, a smoky bacon margarita, which won 'Most Creative' at the Big Tex Choice Awards.
It was actually pretty good! Usually, I don't like frozen margaritas because of how sweet they usually are but this one wasn't too sweet & I thought the smoky flavor was a nice touch.
Brittany, Zachary's sister, got a margarita in a pineapple.
Once further into the park, we started to see big covered buildings that hosted car shows, with basically every major dealer & new cars they have available. Zachary & I sat in a few Kia's & Brittany checked out a few new Nissan's. There was car games, giveaways & raffles, as it is, with any car show. There were tons of major stores there, too. Mattress stores, furniture stores, hot tubs, blinds, knives, cookware, patio furniture, the list goes on & on of showrooms, where stores are showing off their best products at "Fair Deals." If you're in the market for anything new, the fair is actually a good place to make a deal, so I've heard.
We also stumbled upon a cigar roller & talked to the business owner for a while. It was interesting to see the cigars being made & the ladies heart behind her business.
There are also some huge tents hosting artisan craft booths & homemade treats, like fudge, toffee, pickles & more. We had THE BEST toffee from Texas Toffee & THE BEST pickles from PickleLicious Pickles. Seriously, I'm still thinking about them. I know, that's sad but they were that good.
The first official "fried fair food" we tried, was the Fried Red Velevet Oreos. They were good you guys. This was probably my favorite thing. It was 3 red velvet oreos, battered & deep fried, then dusted with powdered sugar & a cream cheese sauce. They were legit.
Some other fried choices at the fair;
fried pb & j, fried mashed potatoes & gravy, fried pizza, fried meat loaf, fried pumpkin pie, fried apple pie, fried Thanksgiving dinner, fried coke, fried lemonade, fried stuffed olives, fried spaghetti, fried smores, fried beer, fried alligator, fried jambalaya, fried reeses, fried creamed corn, beer battered buffalo, pretzel crusted pollo queso, fried bacon cinnamon roll, chicken fried bacon, fried frito pie, deep fried latte & more.
The next thing we tried was the famous Fletcher's corn dogs.
Nothing more awkward than posing with your corn dog.
The next thing we tried was one of the Big Tex Choice award winners this year, the Holy Moly Carrot Cake Moly, which is a fried carrot cake roll topped with cream cheese frosting & powdered sugar. It's served with two dippers, caramel & cinnamon whipped cream. It was pretty good. I can definitely see why it was the winner, though I personally liked the fried oreos better. To me, this tasted almost like a fried cinnamon roll.
Besides all the fried foods, Big Tex & the Texas Star Ferris wheel are two of the most famous "sites" at the fair. They're iconic. This guy above is Big Tex, stands at 55 ft & first appeared at the fair in 1952. He waves & "talks," greeting everyone as the enter through the main entrance of the fair.
The original Big Tex was destroyed in an electrical fire in 2012. Can you imagine seeing that?! The original Tex cost $750. The new one costs $500, 000. Let's hope this one doesn't get caught in a fire, too! Zachary & I thought it would be cool if every year, they added a new wrinkle to Big Tex' face. Good idea, ya? ;)
Another icon is the Texas Star ferris wheel that stands year round at the park. I loved taking photos of it during The Color Run. It has great views of Dallas & stands at 212 ft, or 3 1/2ish of Big Tex.
After we had our fill of food, we went to an amazing dog show, played some games & rode some rides.
With all games come lots & lots of hanging stuffed animal prizes. Wish I could have one Sophie one of these cute unicorns.
I'm kind of obsessed with the spinning rides, so we made sure to go on a few, though Zachary chickened out on the first one. He was much happier playing games. The boy is intense when it comes to carnival games. And claw games. I COULD NOT stop laughing on this ride. It was a spinning ride & it spinned super fast while flying around. My bodies response to all of that was laughing. It was weird, I couldn't help it!
Family bonding time over Ski ball.
We only had enough tickets left for the four of them to play so I took pictures. But the lady running the stand was so sweet & told me I should play, too & put an extra quarter in.
After ski ball, we rode another fun ride. Zachary's dad was sure to take some awesome pictures.
Do you see me? :)
Zachary & Brittany are coming around the side.
Can you see all of us? Upside down & super high up!? Also, please note that Heather The Hardcore still has her arms out. That's right baby. Hardcore.
After all that spinning we had to eat more fried food, naturally. We ended with a classic, the funnel cake. It was delicious, as they always are. After the funnel cake, we walked back around the park to Gate 6, though we realized later that we could have exited near the rides, right out into the parking lot we had parked in. Remember to look at the map friends! At the end of our day my Fitbit read 17,600 steps & 7.2 miles. We ate a lot of calories but hopefully worked most off!
We had a great day at the fair! If you live in Texas & have never been, go! Make a new tradition. If you don't live in Texas but find your self this way from now until October 16, go! Also, if you're not from Texas, I promise that we don't eat all the things you eat, but fried. We usually eat them not deep fried, just like you. Thank you again Mosby's, the originals, for taking us!
What would fried fair food would you have tried? Comment below!