The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Tipping my hat to the state fair of texas

This weekend along with thousands of Texans, I attended the State Fair of Texas.

I went for the fried cookie dough I heard lore of, but stayed for so much more than the delectable balls of cholesterol.

I was born and raised in Miami, so most Texas traditions are foreign to me. I don’t even know if there is a Florida state fair. If there is, I’ve never been to it. I do know that I haven’t been to the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair in more than 10 years, for many reasons.

First of all, it’s expensive, and the bang for your buck is more like a soft pop. A couple of dinky carnival rides are driven to south Florida and operated at the fair by dead ringers for Switchblade Sam played by Christopher Lloyd in 1993’s “Dennis the Menace.”

The food isn’t much to be desired, either. A couple of over-priced churros and an arepa stand are the Dade County Fair answers to carnival cuisine. Throw in some underwhelming animal exhibitions, oppressive south Florida heat and one too many cervezas in Pablo’s beater-covered belly, and you’ve got yourself the reasons I’ve kept my distance.

My parents were in town for family weekend, so we had dinner with some local relatives on Friday night, two days before our planned state fair visit.

“You have to try the funnel cake, and the corny dogs, and the fried guacamole bites and the turkey legs…” They went on and on about the array of artery cloggers that were at our disposal at the fair.

My relatives went on an all-vegetable diet earlier this year after one too many trips to the Fair. Seriously.

Good people from all over the state have been making their way to Dallas for the fair for more than 100 years. I’ve been living here for three of those years, and decided to finally see what all the commotion was about. Not only did my relatives rave about the State Fair, but also I’ve been hearing from the natives in these parts that it’s not to be missed.

We started our day with a fabulous parking spot along R.B. Cullum Blvd. for only $5. Parking for this price anywhere in Miami will almost guarantee your car will be used to traffic illegal narcotics, or that it will be blocked in by someone who will be “right back” in about four years.

There were no lines at the ticket window (also something that would most certainly not happen in my hometown), and three very friendly gentlemen who spoke fluent English handed us our map and guidebook.

We got to the fair a little before 1 p.m., just in time to see the early afternoon explosion of David Smith, Jr., the Human Cannonball. Smith comes from a family of human cannonballs, which I think classifies him as a carnie.

This guy could have ended up looking like the by-product of too many corny dogs plus too much rollercoaster riding, so luckily Smith knew what he was doing. My parents and I all had the same looks of wonderment on our faces as the five-year-olds holding their hands over their ears. Mr. Cannonball shot out of the cannon and into a net several yards away, without any mishaps and three thoroughly impressed audience members.

By this time, our stomachs were asking for some of the famous food that seemed to be everywhere at Fair Park. We started off with some substantial cheeseburgers, but my normally uber-healthy mother dove right into a turkey leg. If she was going to cheat, she was going to cheat all the way.

We weren’t quite ready for dessert, so we sat in on the Top Flight K-9 show in the TXU Energy Arena. There was a dog from Miami who caught nine Frisbees in a row. Finally, something to be proud of!

We walked around a bit more, checking out the Food and Fiber pavilion where I got to pet Beulah, an adorable calf, and learned about honeybees.

Then came the fried cookie dough. I thought one could only dream of such a concoction, but the State Fair of Texas is a place where dreams come true. Imagine a really fresh, hot chocolate chip cookie, made with real butter, real sugar and maybe drugs. It was definitely worth the calories.

The next stop on our tour was to the restrooms. But on our way there, we were stopped by the biggest swine I have ever seen. No, I’m not talking about any of the fair-goers; I’m talking about an actual male pig. A very big, very male pig. They should really warn people about these things, or at least put up a strategically placed black bar; there were kids there. Later on, however, we spotted an even more vulgar bull and solved the age-old question. The bull won.

We kept on our animal-viewing route, cooing over the miniature zebu cattle and the Nigerian dwarf goats. Sure they’re genetically altered to stay small, which is basically like stunting a person’s growth to engineer a little person, but they were still cute.

We saw a few more animals, including the very statuesque llamas and several breeds of chicken, including Sex Link chicken. Apparently the eggs from male Sex Links make one hell of a fried egg- perfect for the State Fair.

It’s safe to say that the next event really capped off my day. After watching a cow-milking demonstration, we passed Miss Daisy being walked back to her stall. Apparently the 40-foot walk was just too far for Daisy who couldn’t wait to expel her oats and hay, just inches from my flip-flop-clad feet. A spot of Daisy’s overspray found its way onto my foot, and I was very glad Mom was there with her anti-bacterial wipes.

I decided I had enough of animal fun for one day, and made the decision to move onto the auto show. The Prius looked good, and the Navigator will literally reach into your wallet and steal all of your gas money, then laugh in your face.

We couldn’t leave the fair without a few more fried items, so we spent our remaining tickets on a chocolate-flavored funnel cake and a frozen slice of fudge-covered cheesecake on a stick. I am currently in detox, on a diet of dry tuna fish and spinach leaves, but it was well worth it.

After the food, the Cannonball, the livestock and the animal poop, I can’t say enough good things about the State Fair. Despite the share of grief I gave my hometown, I really do love the Magic City. But the Lone Star State knows how to throw a fair. What really impressed me wasn’t the pig testicles, or even the size of Big Tex’s hat, but how well-behaved and friendly the people of Dallas were.

Texans and the fair staff couldn’t have been more obliging to three Floridians looking for a little taste of Texas.

More to Discover