Melissa Tate is a self-proclaimed State Fair of Texas superfan.
Every year as a kid, she would go to the annual celebration of fried food and Texas culture for her birthday on Oct. 3. As an adult, this proud Texan buys a season pass and attends almost every day the fair is in town. She was even featured in the documentary mini-series 341 about vendors and fans who participate in the state fair.
In 2016, when Tate's then-boyfriend, Evan, got down on one knee and asked for her hand in marriage while at State Fair of Texas, she was "completely shocked." But the theme of their wedding, which took place over the weekend at the family-owned Tate Farms in Rockwall, was less surprising.
"From the minute he proposed I was like, 'Get the corny dogs, get the mustard,'" she said. "We are bringing the fair the farm!"
On March 25, Melissa and Evan threw their very own "Tate Fair of Texas" with enough Fletcher's corny dogs, Midway games and Lone Star beer to make a die-hard fairgoer's mouth water.
A Ferris wheel gave friends and family an aerial view of the festivities, which included a livestock area filled with award-winning goats and steer. Desserts, including cookies shaped like the Lone Star State, were laid on a banquet table and adorned with ribbons, as though they'd been being judged at the fair. (The wedding cake took first-place blue.) Even libations came served in State Fair of Texas cups, which were donated by the fair.
Melissa, who owns mobile photo booth company Photo Wagon, admits that Evan isn't as obsessed with the fair as she is, but he helped bring her vision to life. Her favorite part? A recreation of the state fair's creative arts building, where pictures of Melissa and Evan hung as though they were the subject of this year's photography contest.
"I love everything about a county fair," she said. "As cheesy as it sounds, it's the core of who I am. I love that Texas tradition."
The Tates, however, won't be celebrating their honeymoon at the State Fair of Texas. This summer, they're taking a road trip to "hit as many dance halls and state parks as we can, and basically picnic and two-step through Texas," Melissa says.
Rest assured, they'll be home in time for the fair's opening day.