Ok, guys and gals. This is going to be some useful information about one of the largest State Fairs that there is in America. As usual, there are lots of pictures!!! You know by now that I love to use the camera, and I have made many scrapbook albums in my home.
Every year Texas (in Dallas) puts together one of the largest fairs around. IF you get the chance to go, GO!!! It opens at the end of September and will run til the end of October. When it is over, it won't open again for a year! The fair grounds are used for other things throughout the year, but NEVER to the extent that you will see during this time period. You can see the giant ferris wheel from the freeway in Dallas.
Be frugal, look for coupons, DO NOT pay full price. This year a full price ticket is $17. We went on a Friday, and so we got in for $12 each with our coupon that we printed out online. I posted last time on where you can get discounts. http://howtoinamerica.blogspot.com/2013/09/state-fair-of-texas.html BUT... they change each year, so do some research or ask me for updates each year! IF you will "follow" my blog (the sign up is over there on the right side of your screen-> ) you will get updates emailed to you.
Ok. What else? Oh, parking was $15 per car, no matter how many people are in the car, still $15. Across the street, there was someone charging just $5. But remember, how safe is your car there?? We almost always park inside the gated area of the fair, or ride the Dart Rail. The Dart Rail was going to cost us more this year, we would have to change rails on the way and therefore get one of the more expensive tickets and it would take us over an hour to get there!
When you get there... be prepared to take out your wallet and cell phone, they just wanna see the outside for security reasons. Also, if you are taking a backpack (you NEED to take one!!!) and/or a purse (you do NOT need a purse!!!), they will ask you to open it and let them look inside. They are looking for weapons and stuff that just is not allowed at the fair. You should be fine. You will see policemen around quite a bit, this is just for being prepared in case something does happen. We never saw any fights or anything when we went, and we were there almost all day! There are all kinds of FREE samples, so that is why you will need a backpack or tote bag for each person. They used to give away cheap bags, but you will not find those as much this year.
This is a Coupon Booth. Get to know it well, because you can not do much without coupons! It is sad but true, and stuff if very expensive. I will include prices on stuff as much as I can. Again, it happens once a year, so just be prepared to share food with someone so that you can try a lot of different things and split the cost. If you wish later that you had done or tried something, it will be too late after you have left the fair grounds.
When we saw the policemen, we always stopped and thanked them for making the fair a safe place to be and for their service to our city.
Here are more police, and that guy with the red'ish colored top (on the right side of the picture) is my husband, headed over to thank the officers. We might be strange, but we feel like everyone enjoys being thanked for doing whatever it is that they do. Our "men in blue/black" are out there every day to protect us, and we appreciate it!
This is one of the many "souvenir" shops. We didn't purchase anything there. I mean really... we didn't need another tshirt, drink container, or something to just sit around and get dusty.
There are several things that you can sign up for or to do. Be careful, most of them will want a phone number or email. No problem, you have that... but do you really want follow up phone calls from them and emails? A lot of times, they will also sell your information to other companies and then they will all be emailing and messaging you.. and then those folks will sell your info and it just keeps going on FOREVER... So, before you sign ANYTHING, be sure that you want it that bad. Oh, but they are giving away a car!!! You wanna sign up? Wait a minute! Did you know that folks come from ALL over America to go to THIS fair? Yep! So, what are your chances of really winning anything there? Didn't think so, so put the pen/pencil down and just tell them "no, thank you."
Yes, I wanted to drive... but, all those list that I would end up on. Go back and read that last paragraph if you still wanna drive. lol
These are after you walk through a lot of the free stuff, and you can meet back out here after everyone takes a quick restroom break inside the building to the right. Oh, free stuff... YES, totally FREE!!! When we first walked in, before we got to the car sign up area... we had chili and coffee (ate it right then, just a sample), free bag of dog food (take it anyway, I have friends with dogs!), free five hour energy drinks, free pork skins (some are very spicy), free backpack (it is the kind with the string straps and I do not know what information you had to give out. We didn't do it, because those kind of bags hurt my shoulders when they are full). Just keep your eyes open for FREE stuff all day!
Dairy Discovery Zone is the free string backpacks. See those folks standing there, they are giving away their addresses and emails for public use... just walk on by.
Be sure to find out what weekend the Texas/OU (Oklahoma) game is. Do NOT go that weekend!!!! There are going to be so many people that you will not be able to walk without getting bumped into! We always try to go on a week day, NOT the weekend!!! It is so much more enjoyable to go on the week day.
This is a lottery machine. He had to pay money to go in there and collect cash. It is very windy in there (see the cash hitting him in the face) and you only get the cash (usually $1 bills) that you can stuff into the little bitty slit in the clean box on the front of the cube. Fun to watch though. There are also some free scratch offs there, but folks seldom win. I did a free one that a lady gave me, but I didn't see anyone scratching the free ones win anything.
This is just looking down one of the many many roads at the fair.
There are lots of buildings to walk around in, we usually did those during the heat of the day. Though in October, our Texas heat isn't nearly as bad as it was the prior month. And, they will try to sell you EVERYTHING. They sell... cars, hot tubs, knives, chairs, beds, clothes, wigs, jewelry, artwork, blown glass, yard art for the garden, tractors, food, cutting machines, blenders, sewing and quilting machines, phones and cases, wagons for your kiddos, soap, candles, carvings, pillows, shoe cleaning kits, mops,... IF you can walk past it after looking, then you really didn't need it! You can get most anything from the fair at the regular store, and get it cheaper for just as good or better quality.
You will see food stands set up all over the place. To me, this is what the fair is all about. The food!!! I will do a section on the food in a bit. Oh, and the "ribbons" that are given out for folks works of art, and yes, I own some of them!
That is the side of the Cotton Bowl, a famous stadium in Texas. The next picture will be a peak inside, the closest I could get you.
The above picture is inside one of the buildings, looking down into the shopping area. I think that this was the old livestock building.
Here is the Main Stage where some of the music and concerts are played.
Off to the left of the stage... more shopping! Like this one, art and collectibles!
Seems like that is the building where we meet this lady. I did purchase that artwork right there in front of the people under the umbrellas. It is a batik done in Uganda by a mother of five children. We have a love for art done by those from around the world, so this was money well spent!
Here is the rest of her booth. If you see her, tell her that the people from the church that do a "Fare Trade Store" sent you. Not sure if she will remember us or not, but I did give her a business card. We also purchased two cards from her that are of the nativity and the picture was made from banana skins.
ALL of the next few pictures are from this Redwood Tree. It was in such shape that it had to be chopped down. If you don't know about the giant Redwoods in California, you can read about them here... http://sunnyfortuna.com/explore/redwoods.htm Be sure to watch the video there, it is really interesting. Did you know that with our Redwood Forests that 90 to 95% have been destroyed? Yep, just 5-10% remain. So there are folks that study them to see what we can do if anything to make them last longer.
This is a free walk through, you can make a donation at the end if you want to.
It has been made into a home.
One of the many different areas to the Fair Park.
There is a petting zoo for the kiddos.
Here are some animals that are being shown in contest and stuff. There is a huge area for the livestock, due to allergies ... I just shot a few pictures as we passed by it.
Remember when I said they sell just about everything at the fair? Here are just a few of the cars! There were two buildings showing all the newest makes and models of everyone out there.
You can see hubby standing in front of one of his favorites. Loved the "chocolate" color, but they called it some sort of "bronze". Was still very pretty!
This was a mechanical cowboy that was on display and talked just about every hour. He was funny! It was worth waiting around to hear his telling about having to power down to recharge at the end! lol
These next few pictures were also displays that were in one of the Auto Buildings. You can tweet something to them and get a free glad for the side of the car window. We got two!
Oh, and hubby's Spiderman shirt... some lady came up to him (very straight faced) and yells, "Don't move, there is a spider on you!" Guess she thought that she was funny. Just strange!
These next few pictures are from inside the building that shows all the winners from all the entries for handmade foods, fibers, arts, photos, jams, quilts,... The building is huge, there were hundreds of winners! I am just posting a few of my favorites.
There is a butter carving in this building each year, here is this years.
Saw this outside one of the buildings, thought it was neat!
As you might have heard, our "Big Tex" burnt down last year, it was sad. So anyway, they rebuilt him and even got someone else to do the voice. He talks and moves his arm every now and then, though it isn't for very long. I have to say, I was disappointed. The jeans don't look like jean fabric, the shirt blew around like a parachute, he was large in the chest with no bottom area...sorry, just didn't look right to me.
The boots were pretty cool!
Most of the main buildings are free. This is the old History Building. They changed it all around so that it is about the making of Big Tex over the years. Was rather interesting.
This just goes to show the size of the belt and buckle.
The folks around are really nice and will take your picture if you want to get some group shots!
And, some folks will do anything for the wife and her blog! lol... poor thing!
There was a yacht that had been hollowed out and filled with plastic empty drink bottles. Was in working order and we got to take a look around. Here are those pictures.
Next is the DAR Building. Daughter of the American Revolution. They are the Historical folks for tracing your family tree back to the war times.
There were flags all across the top of the room from different times in American's history. A very interesting building. It is very small, air conditioned, and you can purchase a cold drink for just $1 in cash.
IF you came in on the Dart Rail, this is where you most likely will enter. So, be sure that you walk all the way around to the other entrance, you don't want to miss all those freebies!
The Latino Building is new this year. It stands to the left of the DAR. You can see the history, some artist, get some freebies from area Junior Colleges, it is air conditioned and have drinks and chocolate for $1 cash.
Next, the flags!
I had never seen the lowering of the flags at sunset. This was very interesting! It was very windy and it took a lot to keep those flags steady enough to fold. They had the guns firing and flag folding for both our flags!
The officer came over to check it out and made them re-fold it. I asked another officer that was nearby. She told me that they are rather particular about the flag folding and they would get it right before they could present the colors.
Food? Oh YES!!! What is the State Fair without a Turkey Leg? These must have been some huge turkeys!!
Not sure that you can read the sign. One turkey leg is 20 coupons, that is $10. But, it would feed three or four people!
We both ate on this thing for quite a while. You have to work at it get the meat off and they are tough. There were a few tender spots, but a fork and knife would have been great!
There is one building that is dedicated to just people eating! And eat.. we did!!!
We used to get a funnel cake each year, and then there came the fried KeyLime Bars on a stick ... followed by new "fried" foods each year.
Hubby walks away with tickets in hand and announces that he will be back. He sits this in front of me and says for me to try it. No explanation of what it is... just to try it. I do trust him, so ...
Says that he was gonna get the pie shakes and went for this instead. Oh my Gosh!!! A piece of glory! What is this? Oh really? Wow. It was deep fried banana pudding. It was so good!
Then, away he went again, out of tickets, but there were several booths here to get them.
Ok. I know nachos, what is the other one though?
How cute is that! The chips are in the shape of Texas!!! The nachos have a bit of spice to them, but not bad.
Deep Fried Brownies. Oh no!!! These are good too! I think I might pop if I have to eat anything else. I didn't eat anything else til we got home much later that evening!
Just liked these trees and wanted to get some pictures. Maybe one day I will add some to one of my paintings?
Are you tired yet?? We are almost finished.
That was just strange. The guy wasn't singing or anything, just stood there kinda rocking back and forth. The group behind him was singing though.
IF you pay to get on here to a sky view of the area, just remember that your coupons are for one way, you have to walk back or pay again.
But again, if it is something you wanna do ... DO IT!!!! This only happens once a year!
IF you are gonna try to win one of these toys, look around and see how many folks are carrying them. No one was winning when we walked through. The few that we saw earlier in the day, were the smaller sized ones. Would be cheaper to go to the toy store and purchase one.
IF I were to go back to the fair, what would I do different. Skip the turkey leg and get the funnel cake. Pack a granola bar and a second bottle of water. Also, I would try that pie shake that was sold in the large building. Let's see...what else... oh, I would ride the ride that takes you up over the park. I think it was $10 though, so I would ask how long it was first though.
Ok. Remember, if you want these posts coming to your email box, then you need to be a follower. I do NOT sell your info or anything!!! Enjoy the fair and I will see you soon!