There's no state fair like the State Fair of Texas. The annual event draws all kinds of attendees who show up for all kinds of reasons. Over our years of reporting, we have queried many local celebrities about their favorite State Fair "must-dos." Here's what they love:
Editor's Note: This story has been brought back and updated ahead of the 2018 State Fair of Texas.
Mark Cuban (Owner, Dallas Mavericks): "Love it. Kids love it. Love turkey legs. Love, love, love turkey legs!"
Todrick Hall (YouTube and Broadway star): "I worked at Dallas Summer Musicals, so I was always there when the State Fair was there. I went there on a daily basis, more than an average person would, because I worked right next to it. I just loved the food."
Rachel Lindsay (Star of The Bachelorette): "Eat a turkey leg ... Smokey Joe's is the best barbecue."
Iliza Shlesinger (Comedian): "I remember going on Fair Day and always wanting one of those t-shirts with the sprayed graffiti name on it. I remember you could buy those little lizards that were made of Styrofoam that you could walk and it would look like they were real. I kept mine forever because I thought it was so special that I had this thing that was like a puppet. And smoked turkey legs, to this day, are one of my top five favorite foods.
"And didn't... was his name Big Tex? ... I'm sorry, but I think the image of that thing on fire is the funniest thing ever."
Richard Rawlings (Star of Discovery's Fast and Loud and owner of Gas Monkey Garage): [On the craziest thing he's eaten at the Fair.] "I guess the fried butter thing. It was ... different. And fried beer didn't go over too well. I guess it didn't have enough beer in it. ... We get out to the State Fair once, we try to get there early before it gets too crazy, get whatever fried goodies have come out this year and hit the rides, hit the midway, win a big stupid stuffed animal and get out of there."
"It's a good time for me to go here in Dallas and check out what the big manufacturers are doing, what's coming out next year, what's gonna be hot and what have you. So it's great for them to show it to the public but you know being in the business I want to get there, peek under the hood and see what's happening."
Jason Ralph (Star of The Magicians): "Most of my experience at the State Fair is just trying to shove as much fried food down my gullet as possible.
John McCaa (WFAA-TV news anchor): "My favorite State Fair of Texas activity is the food. The new fried concoctions each year are fascinating, but the world of home-cooked cuisine is truly advanced in the kitchens of families passing down recipes from one generation to the next and comparing them at the fair to see who, each year, has raised the bar on home cuisine. My wife and I like to cook so it's a great place to get tips."
The Roaming Gnome (Spokes-gnome, Travelocity): "I challenge myself to try everything that is fried. Including: fried pickles, fried brownies, fried ice cream, fried chicken, fried bubble gum. ... I do find myself to be an adventurous little gnome, so I'll go with the stupendous rides. (BEFORE trying the fried food items, of course!)"
McKaley Miller (Actress, the CW's Hart of Dixie): "I love the State Fair of Texas! My favorite part would have to be the food and the environment. Everyone there is having so much fun! You have to try the funnel cake, and their famous corn dog -- my personal favorites."
Roger Staubach (Dallas Cowboys quarterback, 1969-1979): "Winning stuffed animals for my grandkids on the basketball shoot and football throw and eating a corny dog."
Cooper Smith Koch (Principal, Cooper Smith Agency Public Relations, "dad on the right" in the J.C. Penney Co. Father's Day ad with his partner, Todd Koch, and their kids, Claire and Mason): "My favorite part of the State Fair, hands down, is the dog shows -- particularly the one where the herding dogs zoom around the arena. They're so fast!"
Kenton Duty (Actor, Young Jacob on ABC's Lost, series regular on Disney Channel's Shake It): "I have attended [the fair] for as long as I can remember. I enjoy going to see the cars at the auto show. You get to see cool cars and concept cars. I think it is fun to see Big Tex! I really enjoy the rides -- the fast ones! ... I eat a healthy diet, but, the fair has amazing food vendors. And you get to try food that is only available at the fair."
Dawn Neufeld (former cast member of VH1's Football Wives, former Mrs. Frisco America): "My No. 1 must-do at the Texas State Fair is to take a ride on the Texas Star Ferris wheel. I love hopping on this iconic ride and taking in all the sights of the fair. The view from the top is amazing -- it's incredible to see the Dallas skyline from that vantage point."
Play-N-Skillz (Juan 'Play' Salinas and Oscar 'Skillz' Salinas, hip-hop electronic music record production duo from Irving): "Eating the chicken legs and the Texas-OU weekend game and celebrations."
Cora Cardona, Dallas (Founder and former artistic director, Teatro Dallas): "I enjoy going to the State Fair to ride on the Ferris wheel, reach the top and watch Dallas' landscape, then seal it with a kiss with [husband] Jeff."
Rachel Hedstrom (former Mrs. Texas International): "I never miss the opportunity to see the amazing artistry from our Texas photographers in the Creative Arts area. [One year], on a whim, I entered a photo of my grandfather's medals and won first place! ... Granddaddy was so proud. We went and saw the photo together at the fair last year. Anyone can see the beauty in Texas all around them -- capturing it at just the right moment can even win you a coveted blue ribbon. I love that about the fair -- all the possibility that exists."