Posts Tagged ‘state fair’

Wish we were there! The 111th Florida State Fair opened on Thursday with Wade Shows midway featuring 114 rides. Among this year’s spectaculars are the new Delusion, owned by Dreamland Amusements, and Jeremy Floyd’s Space Roller, along with popular classics like the Enterprise and the Zipper. Robin D. Colles video of the 2014 midway at night shows many of the rides that have returned this year. The Tampa fair runs through February 16th.

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August 22, 2013: Traveler: New York State Fair and Minnesota State Fair

February 18, 2013: Round the World and at the Fair with Zamperla’s Air Race

August 9, 2012: Traveler: Skywheel at the Wisconsin State Fair 2012

October 8, 2010: Traveler: Most Beautiful Video of the State Fair of Texas

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Big Tex

The New “Big Tex” Was Unveiled at the State Fair of Texas on September 26. Photo via State Fair of Texas

The State of Fair of Texas opens on Friday with a new “Big Tex” who looks different from the old Big Tex ready to say “Howdy, folks!” with his new voice. The now 55-foot-tall figure stands in huge size 70 Lucchese boots featuring symbols of Texas such as the state flower and bird and Capitol building, as well as the State and U.S. flags. The welcome home ceremony will be streamed live at 2pm.

Last October, the original 60-year-old Big Tex was destroyed by flames from an electrical fire on the last weekend of the fair. The icon was rebuilt with the help of many donors, from Tall Texans ($1,000) and Big Tex – Reboot ($500) to Tex’s Friends ($25).

The new Big Tex’s big eyes, darker complexion and the configuration of his arms and hands are different than the old cowboy. On the Big Tex Grief Support Group page on Facebook, which was formed after the fire, reactions to the new Big Tex ranged from “Nothing like the old Big Tex!!!!!!” and “He looks great! – Just like a real Texan / Tejano! Love him!” to “He kind of looks like Howdy Doody!” and “Fail!” Here’s a slide show from KERA of North Texas showing how Big Tex has looked through the years.

Real Photo Post Card of The Worlds Largest Santa Clause Kerens, Texas 1949 Taylor Studio . From the Collection of Ed Williams

Real Photo Post Card of The Worlds Largest Santa Claus. Kerens, Texas 1949. Taylor Studio. Ed Williams Collection

Big Tex was originally a roadside “World’s Largest Santa Claus” built by the Chamber of Commerce in Kerens, Texas, according to The Great State Fair of Texas by Nancy Wiley. The 49-foot figure was constructed from iron-pipe drill casing and papier mache. The State Fair’s president bought the Santa in 1951 and hired Dallas artist Jack Bridges to transform him into a giant cowboy.

We’ve been fond of Big Tex since childhood. He was a familiar figure on vintage postcards in Mom’s shoebox of postcards from the road. ATZ met the big guy in 2006, the first time we visited the State Fair of Texas, which is worth a trip from anywhere. In 2012, the Dallas fair was once again no. 1 on Carnival Warehouse’s list of North America’s Top 50 Fairs, with an attendance of 2.56 million. The 2013 State Fair of Texas runs September 27 – October 20.

Big Tex Vintage Postcard


Related posts on ATZ…

September 20, 2013: Photo Album: 87th Annual Feast of San Gennaro

June 17, 2013: Photo Album: The Front of the Show at Meadowlands Fair

August 9, 2012: Traveler: Skywheel at the Wisconsin State Fair 2012

October 8, 2010: Traveler: Most Beautiful Video of the State Fair of Texas

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Dairy Princesses

Dairy Princesses. Photo courtesy of the New York State Fair

Worth a trip from anywhere, both the New York State Fair and the Minnesota State Fair opened today for their annual 12-day run. ATZ still has a long way to go before reaching our goal of attending a fair in all 50 states, but we have been to both of these great state fairs. The Syracuse fair is accessible by Greyhound or Amtrak from New York City and has a midway by Strates Shows, founded in 1923 and America’s last carnival still traveling by rail. Minnesota is famous for its carefully curated independent midway and an array of unusual new foods. The two fairs run through Labor Day, September 2nd.

New York State Fair

A special exhibit on the history of the New York State Fair, which opened in 1841 and is America’s first State Fair, debuts this year. Visitors enter via a replica of the columned carriage entrance that was used in the 1900s. Among the artifacts on display are costumes from the early 20th century when the fair closed at dusk and a Mardi Gras parade entertained fair-goers at night, clay models of butter sculptures from the last nine years, and a miniature model of the mighty James E. Strates Midway.

Space Roller

Space Roller, James E Strates Midway at New York State Fair

The Fair’s theme is “Sharing the Bounty and Pride of New York.” New York grown and produced food and beverages will be sampled and sold under the “Taste NY” banner throughout the fair this year. Visitors who stop by locations on the “Taste NY Trail” will be eligible to win prizes. Among the vendors are nine breweries, ten wineries, honey producers, dairies, and organic farmers.

This year’s entertainment includes the Nerveless Nocks Thrill Show; Mutts Gone Nuts Comedy Dog Act; Team Sandtastic’s annual sand castle in the Horticulture Building; the Walker Brothers’ Circus; and Extreme Log Makeover featuring a team of female chain saw carvers.

Special Days: Dairy Day, Beef Day, Veteran’s Day, Women’s Day, Gospel Weekend

Grandstand Shows: Toby Keith, Carly Rae Jepsen, Lynyrd Skynyrd, All Star Monster Truck Show, NYS Championship Demolition Derby & Double Figure 8 Races

Minnesota State Fair

Space Tower

The Space Tower, built in 1965 and now regarded as one of the landmarks of the fair. Photo courtesy of Minnesota State Fair

The first Minnesota State Fair was held in 1859 and moved to its present location between Minneapolis and St Paul in 1889. Among the historic privately owned attractions at the fair are the 1913 Ye Old Mill tunnel of love ride, a Haunted House built by the same designers as Disney’s Haunted Mansion, and the 330-foot Space Tower built in 1965 by the same manufacturer as Coney Island’s Astrotower.

New foods for the 2013 Minnesota Fair were announced in July in plenty of time to whet people’s appetites. Lobster Macaroni & Cheese, Candied Bacon Cannoli and Fried Pickles ‘n’ Chocolate are some of the unusual combos. We’ll have the Craft Beer Battered Onion Rings and the Comet Corn, icy cold caramel corn made with liquid nitrogen, please! A Food Finder on the fair’s website lists 83 different foods on a stick and their locations. Reporters typically review all of the new foods and locals come back day after day to eat their way through the fair.

Sweet Corn Corndog

Sweet Corn Corndog at Campbell’s Flavored Corndogs. Photo coutesy of Minnesota State Fair

This year’s entertainment includes the Giant Singalong, Equimania, The LEGO Road Trip, Canstruction, Krazy Maze, Military Appreciation Day Flyover & Vietnam Era Veterans Parade and Program, and “Ice” Skating on a sheet of synthetic ice.

Grandstand shows: Sheryl Crow, Depeche Mode, 2013 Internet Cat Video Festival presented by Walker Art Center, MSF Amateur Talent Contest Finals and Tim McGraw

Minnesota State Fair

Agriculture Building and Skyride. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair

Related posts on ATZ…

July 22, 2013: The World’s Largest Traveling Bonanza Shooting Gallery

June 27, 2013: Photo Album: The Front of the Show at Meadowlands Fair

August 9, 2012: Traveler: Skywheel at the Wisconsin State Fair 2012

October 8, 2010: Traveler: Most Beautiful Video of the State Fair of Texas

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