The Starlight Parade at the State Fair of Texas. 

The Starlight Parade at the State Fair of Texas. 

Kevin Brown

Did you ever look at the State Fair of Texas schedule and wonder what on earth some of the events listed might be? We took a quirky spin through the schedule to give you a sampler of fun things to see there, from A to Z.

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A is for Auto Show

Scope out your dream ride at what's billed as the largest new-car auto show in the Southwest, with about 400 of the latest models.

 B is for Big Tex

The iconic cowboy is the State Fair's mascot. He started off as a giant Santa figure designed to drum up holiday spending in the town of Kerens in Navarro County in 1949. In 1951, the State Fair of Texas bought him and gave him a cowboy makeover. He's been re-made many times through the years, most notably when he burned down in 2012. He returned to the fair in 2013. (Cool side note: Youngsters can get a temporary Big Tex tattoo at the Kids' Boardwalk.)

C is for Cattle

State Fair livestock exhibitors show more than 15 breeds of cattle. Other animals you can expect to see include sheep, rabbits, llamas and goats.

D is for Dentzel Carousel

Take a spin on the antique ride's intricately painted wooden horses, which have been a staple on the fairgrounds since 1951 (the carousel was in Reading, Pa., for several decades before that, so it's truly an old-time classic).

The Dentzel Carousel

The Dentzel Carousel

File/Mona Reeder

E is for Egg Contest

The fair's Pan-American Livestock Exposition features this competition, in which egg-cellent entries are judged on their contents or shell color. It's on Oct. 17 at 10 a.m. at the Poultry Building.

Farmer Mike

Farmer Mike

Kevin Brown

F is for Farmer Mike

The pumpkin is a canvas for Mike Valladao, a.k.a. Farmer Mike. He carves wacky creations out of them on weekends in the Errol McKoy Greenhouse on the Midway.

G is for Glue A Shoe

Elaborately decorated footwear is the name of the game in this competition. You can use a boot, heel, sandal, slip-on or running shoe. The competition is for single shoes only, though, no pairs. The contest will be judged Sept. 25 at 11:30 a.m. in the Creative Arts Competition Kitchen. Winners will be displayed for the duration of the fair.

H is for Holy Moly Carrot Cake Roly

This year's Big Tex Choice Awards winner for Best Taste features flattened cinnamon bread filled with carrot cake, raisins and carrots. It's lightly coated in cream cheese and then breaded in graham crackers, panko, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Fernie's Holy Moly Carrot Cake Roly

Fernie's Holy Moly Carrot Cake Roly

I is for Illumination Sensation

The Esplanade fountain show and its accompanying music and fireworks, presented by Mattress Firm, got a makeover this year with bigger and better pyrotechnics, as well as dancers and acrobats. Catch it nightly at 8 p.m.

Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at the State Fair of Texas features plenty of canine tricks.

Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at the State Fair of Texas features plenty of canine tricks.

Kevin Brown

J is for Jump! The Ultimate dog Show

The people behind the show call it the X Games for dogs. Expect Frisbee stunts and plenty of other impressive tricks at the Pan-Am Arena.

K is for Killdares

The Killdares are the tireless Celtic rockers who've brought the sounds of bagpipe, fiddle and guitar to the fair for nearly 20 years. Catch them multiple times daily Sept. 25-Oct. 2 at the Dr Pepper Stage.

L is for Lone Star Horse Spectacular

Actor Barry Corbin (Maurice from Northern Exposure and the voice of "The Wolf" KPLX FM-99.5) provides the narration for this new attraction that tells the story of Texas with riders on horseback carrying the six flags of Texas. It's staged three times a day in the Pan-Am Arena.

M is for Miniature Zebu

These diminutive cattle, part of a breed that originated in India, have humps on their backs and can be up to 42 inches tall. There's a miniature zebu costume class event on Oct. 3 at the East Livestock Judging Pavilion (time TBA; it's basically a costume competition) and a show Oct. 4 at 8 a.m. at the West Livestock Judging Pavilion.

Larry Smith of Half Moon Acres Ranch trains and shows Miniature Zebu for the cattle show.

Larry Smith of Half Moon Acres Ranch trains and shows Miniature Zebu for the cattle show.

Alexandra Olivia/Special Contributor

N is for Native Andes Sounds

Hear traditional music from the Andes region in South America on weekdays. It's part of the annual Mundo Latino exhibit housed inside the former Women's Museum.

O is for The O'S

Bluegrass and pop duo the O's is one of the many regional musical acts scheduled to take to the Chevrolet Main Stage, with sets Oct. 10 at noon and 1:30 p.m.

P is for Pee Wee Stampede

Three times a day, little ones ages 3 to 6 can ride stick horses and compete in mock-rodeo events. And, yes, it's just as cute as it sounds.

The 2012 Pee Wee Stampede

The 2012 Pee Wee Stampede

Lara Solt/Staff Photographer

Q is for Quilts

The Creative Arts Building is an oasis of creativity. Look for patchwork, embroidered, State Fair-themed and other quilts.

R is for Rooster Crowing Contest

The competitor who can coax his or her rooster to crow the most will win during this new competition. Catch it Oct. 18 in the Poultry Barn.

The moving tree can be startling.

The moving tree can be startling.

David Woo/Staff Photographer

S is for Starlight Parade

Get ready to wave! The nightly parade features illuminated floats, music and costumed characters. It begins at 7:15 near the Children's Aquarium.

T is for Tree Man Stilt Walker

A performer disguised as a 12-foot-tall tree hangs around the Errol McKoy Greenhouse on the Midway. He can be a bit alarming if you aren't expecting him. But he likes to chat and give the occasional hug (tree hugger, indeed).

U is for U.S. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps

The 85 Marine musicians in the ensemble, dressed in their signature red-and-white uniforms, march and play military and popular music. They'll perform in daily concerts in Marine Corps Square, as well as a performance in the nightly Starlight Parade, Sept. 25-Oct. 6 (no show Sept. 30).

Your guide to everything at the State Fair of Texas

V is for Vet

The single-named Dallas artist is known for using found and recycled items in her work, and she'll help little ones make crafts at the Kids' Boardwalk.

W is for Woofus

The statue on the side of the Swine Building is a blend of six animals that's definitely not found in nature. It has the head of a sheep, the horns of a Texas longhorn, the neck and mane of a horse, the body of a hog, the tail of a turkey and the wings of a duck. The unusual animal has a weird back story: It's a 2002 re-creation of the Woofus statue from the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition, which vanished.

The Woofus

The Woofus

File 2004

X is for Xeriscaping

See examples of xeriscaping, landscaping and gardening with conservation in mind, in some of the landscaping beds and at Texas Discovery Gardens.

Y is for Youth Cooking Contest

Check-in for this competition, one of the many at the fair, is Oct. 3 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Kids ages 6 to 11 and 12 to 17 will be judged on goodies, such as cookies and candies, that they prepared. It's at the Creative Arts Competition Kitchen.

Z is for Zuzu African Acrobats

The undeniably energetic troupe tumbles, balances and builds human pyramids. There are multiple performances daily at the Mattress Firm Stage on the Esplanade.

The acrobats perform several times a day near the Auto Show Truck Zone

The acrobats perform several times a day near the Auto Show Truck Zone

Kevin Brown/State Fair of Texas
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