Texas Travel

First-Timer’s Guide to the State Fair of Texas

By Valirie Morgan 9.19.16

It’s almost time for Big Tex to beckon visitors to Fair Park in Dallas with his first “Howdy!” of the season — the State Fair of Texas is just around the corner.

Tried-and-true fairgoers know their favorite fried-food stands and Midway rides, but first-timers can be easily overwhelmed by the largest state fair in the country. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with our favorite attractions to make the most of this classic Lone Star experience.

Texas Taste

If you’re exploring the fairgrounds without a Texas-size snack in your hand, you’re missing out. The State Fair is famous for its classic Fletcher’s Corny Dogs and outrageous menu of fried foods. The finalists for this year’s Big Tex Choice Awards include the Down Home Chicken Pot Pie Pocket (with mac ‘n cheese dip!) and the Deep Fried Bacon Burger Dog Slider on a Stick, so be sure to bring your appetite!

Exhibits Galore 

This year’s theme is “Celebrating Texas Agriculture,” so there are plenty of hands-on agricultural activities for kids and adults. Texas culture takes center stage in the Lone Star Stampede, a performance showcasing traditional Native American dancers and a Texas longhorn cattle drive.

Live Shows

Texans love live music, and the performance lineup at the 2016 State Fair has something for everyone — from country singer Kacey Musgraves to hip-hop artist Nelly. And while the concerts can draw quite the crowd, no one can pass up the chance to check out the dog shows or the pig races.

Fair Favorites

Adrenaline lovers flock to the Midway for the rides, and there’s always plenty of jumbo stuffed animals to win by playing the games. The landmark attraction of the State Fair, though, is the Texas Star, the largest Ferris wheel in North America, offering sweeping views of the Dallas-Fort Worth area for those gutsy enough to try it.

The State Fair of Texas runs from Sept. 30 to Oct. 23. While you plan your trip, check out these fun facts about the fair on our blog!