The most anticipated annual festival in Dallas, the State Fair of Texas, has arrived!
Last year, 2.4 million people attended. Most folks know what to expect at the fair, such as more than 70 carnival rides and unlimited selfies with Big Tex. The fair also includes free concerts and new foods, including the don't-miss-it the Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger, which won two Big Tex Choice Awards: Best Taste-Savory and Most Creative.
Looking for fresh fair thrills? Check out these:
Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center
This 55,000-square-foot multipurpose facility will expand the scope of livestock and agriculture activities during the fair. Find it near the Pan Am gate at the intersection of Washington Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The "I Spy Texas" exhibit has moved there for 2017 and can be found in the foyer. "I Spy Texas" is an interactive exhibit that takes visitors on a tour of the different regions of the Lone Star State. This is just one of many exhibits at the fair.
Three new restaurants provide food, respite and even learning opportunities at the fair:
Gulf Coast Grill, next to the Leonhardt Lagoon across from Cotton Bowl Plaza, gives the fair's restaurant lineup a tropical flair. The island-style grill will feature live music from local artists on weekends.
Stiffler's Mom's Cookie Factory will serve up gourmet chocolate-chip cookies and milk. Debuting on the midway, the factory can churn out 800 cookies every 11 minutes. Keep an eye on the baking process from two observation windows.
A Cotton Candy Stand in the Tower Building will be housed in the very center of the building, showcasing how cotton candy is made. The stand's colorful façade and sweet appeal will brighten up the State Fair's food headquarters.
World of Magic
Mind-blowing magic tricks and illusions by award-winning illusionists -- and a floating robot -- are sure to captivate crowds of all ages at the Oak Farms Showplace Theater in the Creative Arts Building. The show takes place three times a day, at 1, 2 and 5 p.m. Find the theater on Nimitz Circle between Keating Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
While many people associate the fair with the Red River Showdown game played at the Cotton Bowl that pits the University of Texas against the University of Oklahoma (this year on Oct. 14), that isn't the only game in town. The State Fair Classic, an annual game between Prairie View A&M and Grambling State, is held Oct. 7.
PLAN YOUR VISIT
Here are the basics for your trip to the fair.
Dates: Sept. 29-Oct. 22
Hours: Gates open daily at 7 a.m. (except for Sept. 29, when they open at 10 a.m.). Exhibit buildings open daily at 10 a.m. They close Sundays through Thursdays at 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays at 10 p.m. Museum and midway hours vary.
Location: In the 277-acre Fair Park, just off Interstate 30, southeast of downtown Dallas
Pricing: $18 general admission, $14 for children under 48 inches tall and adults 60 and older, free for children 2 and younger; season pass $39.95
Coupons: Just about everything inside the fair gates -- including food and rides -- must be paid for by coupons. You can get them online or at coupon stands throughout the fair; they're priced two for $1.