If you find yourself in Dallas any time during the run of the State Fair of Texas, you have to head to the big event at Fair Park. It’s the largest state fair in the country and you won’t want to miss it.


Where else will you be greeted by a waving and welcoming 55-foot-tall cowboy wearing the world’s largest pair of denim jeans and size 96 boots?


photo courtesy Kevin Brown/State Fair of Texas

There is so much to do and see that it’s worth a repeat visit to catch all the excitement.


No matter the long list of scheduled entertainments on offer (get all the info at bigtex.org), a visit to any state fair demands a stroll among the exhibition pavilions and livestock barns. A visit to the Creative Arts pavilion immerses you in all the handicrafts that have been recognized for top awards and inspires thoughts of how you might spend your creative energies through the fall and into the coming winter. Rows and rows of prize-winning preserves testify that the kitchen tradition of canning is alive and well. A reminder that Grandma’s table was such a tasty spot for a meal or an afternoon tea for a reason that you can still emulate today.


Admire the beauty of handmade quilts and the patience evident in their construction. Check out an array of award-winning photographs. Sit down a few minutes and watch a recipe-judging in progress.


photo courtesy Kevin Brown/State Fair of Texas

After time spent amid the home arts, it’s time to embrace that other quintessential aspect of state fairs: the critters. Pig races, dog shows, cattle judging, and equestrian events draw you to ringside, but most of the pleasure is strolling the barns amid the animals.


Get a bird’s-eye-view of the Fair and its surroundings with a ride on the Top ‘O Texas Tower.


At 500 feet high, it’s the tallest tower ride in the country to date (well, duh, it’s in Texas).


Looking down on the 212-foot-high Texas Star Ferris Wheel (once the tallest in North America—of course) you can get a good look at the lay of the land.


And enjoy a view of the downtown skyline, while also getting an appreciation for how incredibly flat central Texas really is.


On the way down from the Tower top, watch a flow-riding demo below.


From the Tower, head over to the midway (or Super Midway as it’s known here). It is big, we admit, but it’s also the cleanest and most attractive one we’ve ever seen. So tidy it takes away from the carnival atmosphere one usually experiences in a midway.


But then again, since it can still get close to 3 digits on the thermometer here in late September/early October, all those awnings and fans make up for the lack of carny atmosphere.


Who goes to a state fair and doesn’t want to come home with a huge stuffed animal? There are about 70 games where you can try your luck.

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Over 70 rides beckon the brave (or foolhardy as the case may be). They even have a 1914 Dentzel Carousel. Plan on hitting the rides before the food stands. Trust me.


This looked like fun until the ride was over. Fortunately, she perked up right after this shot was taken. Fair food will do that to ya.

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