I love the State Fair of Texas. I went every year growing up until I left the country on my mission for two years and then spent five years in Utah for school. This was the year to end my seven-year hiatus from the Texas tradition. I went with my sister and two friends and will go again with my parents tomorrow. We had lots of fun. Here’s a little about what I did with my friends.
There are two big exhibition halls at what is called the Esplanade. These are all part of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition, so the architecture and art is pretty cool with a Texas-twist on art deco. A lot of the buildings at Fair Park were built for that expo and have pretty cool details. Ever since I can remember, the buildings on the Esplanade have housed the car displays. Every major American car manufacturer and several foreign makers, have large displays with many of their new models. There are cars spinning on turn-tables with models showing them off. There are cars climbing up towers or suspended upside down. You can get in many of the vehicles to check them out and see what it would be like to drive a car you’ve always dreamed about. I think this year, some of the makers even offered test drives at the extensions to their displays outside.
Food and Fiber
From the cars, we perused a craft tent full of vendors selling their wares on our way to the Food and Fiber Building. This is a building all about agriculture in the state of Texas. There are displays about the major crops, livestock, wildlife and more. They also have live cooking demonstrations and samples. In the middle of the building is a store selling products from Texas farmers and business. At the end of the building is Elsie, the spokes-cow from Borden.
The Embarcadero (Creative Arts)
The Embarcadero houses the fair’s exhibition of its annual creative arts contests, so there are paintings, quilts, sculptures, photographs, doll dresses, embroidered things, crocheted things and so much more made by children and adults. We found a couple of paintings entered by my brother-in-law’s uncles. Also in this building, the annual butter sculpture. At the beginning of the fair, an artist has a block of butter, and over the next couple of weeks a sculpture is created in view of the public in a refrigerated room. This year’s sculpture celebrates the UT / OU game 100-year tradition, most of those games being played during the fair in the Cotton Bowl. The other half of the Embarcadero has more vendors selling their wares.
Shopping and Vendors
The fair always has tons of vendors selling their wares. They have everything from artists and craftsmen, to health equipment and supplements, to hot tubs and spas, to as-seen-on-TV products and so much more. This means there are several venues designated as shopping buildings or tents. We explored a few of these and had a few demonstrations but in the end didn’t buy anything. Instead, I was saving my money for something else. I’m sure we’ll spend a lot of time doing this with my parents.