State Fair of Texas

The State Fair of Texas is an annual state fair held in Dallas, Texas (USA). The fair season usually begins the last Friday in September and ends 24 days later. The fair is held at the historic Fair Park where it has been held since 1886. The 2008 fair will be from September 26 to October 19. Big Tex, a 52 ft (16 m) tall cowboy, has been the symbol of the fair since his introduction in 1952; in 1953, Big Tex's jaw was hinged, so that he appears to "speak" the announcements that promote fair events.Steven Butler. [http://www.watermelon-kid.com/places/FairPark/fp-history/fp-timeline4.htm Fair Park Timeline, part 4: The Post-Exposition Years (1938-1984)] ]

The State Fair of Texas is the largest state fair in the United States by annual attendance, according to industry magazine "Amusement Business"; although the fair no longer tracks attendance by ticket sales — the numbers always underestimated attendance due to the practice of free entry for local schoolchildren and senior citizens on certain days — the fair's past estimates by various methods consistently suggested more than 3 million people visit the fair annually.Pam Wagner. [http://www.window.state.tx.us/comptrol/fnotes/fn0309/big.html "BigTex.com: Texas State Fair ropes in visitors, revenues,"] "Fiscal Notes", September 2003 (Texas State Comptroller's Office). Retrieved August 19, 2007.] Its 212-foot Texas Star Ferris wheel has been the largest in North America since it debuted in October 1985, just months short of the Texas Sesquicentennial.Norman Anderson. "Ferris wheels: an illustrated history", Popular Press, 1992, page 138-40.] [http://www.bigtex.com/sponsors/whatmakesusunique/ "What makes us unique,"] BigTex.com. Retrieved 2008-09-24.] As of 2003, the fair's marketing director estimated that the fair was bringing about US$350 million dollars into the Dallas economy.

Traditionally, one of the centerpieces of the fair has been the annual college football game between Texas and Oklahoma, nicknamed the Red River Shootout and played in the Cotton Bowl at Fair Park. Also, the State Fair Classic, featuring Grambling State and Prairie View A&M, is played at the Cotton Bowl during the fair.

The State Fair of Texas is the only fair in the country to include a full blown auto show, dating back to 1904. It includes over 300,000 square feet of new model vehicles, two buildings, a Truck Zone and a Test Drive Track. The State Fair has been the site for several international launches including the 2007 Chevy Tahoe, the 2008 Ford Sporttrac and the 1998 Chevy Blazer.

In recent years the fair has emphasized its reputation as an event featuring unique, albeit high-fat foods. The fair has been known for years for Fletcher's brand corny dogs. Recent years have seen the introduction of new unusual deep-fried items, including deep-fried Oreo cookies; deep-fried Twinkies; deep-fried pork ribs; fried cheesecake; deep-fried peanut butter, jelly, and banana sandwiches; and most recently a batter-based fried Coke. This year's new foods include chicken fried bacon and fried banana splits. The State Fair of Texas has chosen "Ignite Your Senses!" as the 2008 theme.

Notable historical events

In 1956, tragedy struck when students from the Memphis High School marching band from Memphis, Texas fell from the top of the Ferris wheel, resulting in the death of one student.1955.] Robert Draper wrote a feature for Texas Monthly commemorating the 50th anniversary of the accident.Robert Draper. [http://www.texasmonthly.com/preview/2005-10-01/feature4 "Wheel in the Sky,"] "Texas Monthly", October 2005. (Links to article preview only) ]

On October 11, 1955, the fair highlighted a show by the then-29 year old Elvis Presley, with 2,000 teenagers attending, and breaking all attendance records for an outdoor concert in the state of Texas. Nearly 30 years after his death, Presley made news again at the state fair when a silk shirt he had worn was stolen from a traveling exhibit, "The King's Ransom," that was one of the featured attraction of the 2005 fair; the shirt was recovered less than 24 hours later when an anonymous person dropped it off at a local post office.Associated Press. [http://www.lubbockonline.com/stories/101405/sta_101405091.shtml "Collector recovers Elvis shirt stolen from State Fair of Texas,"] "Lubbock Online", October 14, 2005. Retrieved August 9, 2007.]

In 1979, two gondolas from the sky lift called the Swiss Sky Ride fell killing one and injuring 18. Operators of a similar ride at nearby Six Flags Over Texas had shut their ride down, due to high winds. A ruling by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found fault with the ride operators, who knew of ride defects but didn't report them. [http://www.rideaccidents.com/rides.html]

On October 17, 1983, the Enterprise (a "scrambler" type amusement ride) malfunctioned, and one of the cars was launched into the midway crowd, resulting in 1 death and 3 injuries requiring hospitalization. [http://injury.findlaw.com/injury/recall.feeds/cpsc/1984/05/84031.html]

A new, safer sky-tram called the Texas Skyway, the first at the fair since the 1979 tragedy, opened in 2007. [http://bestof.dallasobserver.com/bestof/award.php?award=747924]

Also, schools and businesses give their students/employees a day off during the fair so that everyone may enjoy the festivities together. This is an excused day off by schools and businesses. The date most companies and school go this year is Monday, October 13th.

See also

*Fair Park
*Cotton Bowl (game)
*Hall of State
*A Fair To Remember (documentary)

Notes

External links

* [http://www.bigtex.com/ The State Fair of Texas]
* [http://tsf.lonestarthrills.com/ State Fair of Texas Guide]
*Handbook of Texas|id=SS/lks2|name=State Fair of Texas
* [http://www.pegasusnews.com/places/state-fair-texas/ Local guide to State Fair of Texas events]
* [http://neighborsgo.com/photos/search/State%20Fair Photos submitted by Fairgoers]


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