Thursday, October 2, 2014
Meet Big Tex
We'd planned to visit the Texas State Fair for months, but with two events coming up - a semi-annual doc appointment in New York, followed by a wedding in Georgia - we decided to forgo it this year. But then a load brought us directly into Dallas and it seemed like a sign that we should. So we took yesterday off, rented a car, and went to meet Big Tex.
We went early in the day in order to enable leisurely strolling. The weather was perfect.
The midway was still closed down, of course, but look at the sunshades. It still gets quite hot here in early October, so these must be a welcome relief.
Most vendors are required to use the Fair's themed booths - note the multi-colored triangles on purple for these food booths, and the blue background on the midway booths, above. It makes for a pleasantly uniform appearance.
Others that are dependent on their own trailers to operate or are permanent venues (such as these above) are allowed, so it's not all cookie-cutter boring.
Early in the day, the food court was empty and vendors were just opening up for business.
As it got closer to Noon, the iced tea stands and food booths got busier. There's fierce competition between the food vendors to come up with the most innovative and tastiest deep fried food. This year's winner was a Fried Shrimp Boil - tiny shrimp, diced potatoes, corn, and seasonings rolled into a ball and fried. For $8.50, you got two balls the size of apricots and a small cup of remoulade sauce. It was absolutely disgusting. Very little flavor, and with all those tiny diced things in a ball of - I dunno, something - it was like eating crap left in your sink strainer after you do dishes.
We did have a corn dog. Fletcher's Corny Dogs are to the Texas State Fair what Gianelli's is to New York. And they rocked. I could've eaten an armload of them, but the carbs are now a no-no for us.
There were some interesting things to see, including this guy:
He was actually kind of shy. We had to call and whistle and make all kinds of weird noises to draw his attention away from his lunch.
We had food coupons to use up before we left, so we stopped for a sausage on a stick for Hoss and a pork wing for me:
I'd never had a pork wing before - it's actually the leg shank - but wow. It was tender and flavorful and porky. The homemade chips underneath were good, but not hard to leave on the plate, either.
How does it compare to the New York State Fair in Syracuse? Well, the annual attendance is higher, averaging 108,000 people for each of its 24 days, compared to New York's 84,000 for its 12 days. But New York's fair is on a much larger campus - 375 acres compared to Texas's 277. New York has larger barns and arenas, a wider variety of animal exhibits and shows, and a far larger emphasis on agriculture and farming. Yep, I was surprised, too. Texas has fewer permanent buildings and exhibition arenas. No Center of Progress building. No Horticulture building. No Dairy building.
And no Gianelli's. :(