Food fanatics and ride enthusiasts can rejoice this weekend as the State Fair of Texas opens to the public Friday, Sept. 30. The fair, which ends Oct. 23, features live entertainment, a plethora of fried food, car shows and family entertainment. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your trip.
The fair is located in Fair Park just two miles east of downtown Dallas at 3921 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas. Here are directions:
Take U.S. 75 South toward downtown Dallas. Take exit 284A to connect to I-30 East toward Texarkana, then take exit 48B and follow directions to Fair Park.
Take I-35E South to downtown Dallas and exit 427E. Immediately after taking the exit, move to one of the left two lanes and enter eastbound I-30. Follow signs for I-30 East toward Texarkana. After passing downtown Dallas, take exit 48B and follow directions to Fair Park.
Tickets to the fair give you access to more than 100 family-friendly activities, shows, concerts and the nightly Starlight Parade. Ticket prices vary and can be purchased in combo packs. In general, children age 2 and younger are free and children under 48 inches are $14. Adult general admission tickets are $18 and seniors (age 60 and older) are $14.
However, here are several ways to save money on tickets:
- Buy your ticket online and save $2.
- Bring a Dr Pepper can any day of the week and get half-price admission. Bring a Dr Pepper can on Tuesday and admission is $5. Tuesday is also the day to get discounts on rides.
- Bring four cans of food to donate to the North Texas Food Bank on Wednesdays and admission to the fair is $4.
- Seniors get in to the fair for free on Thursdays. Others can bring an empty 20-ounce Coke product and get in for $6 on Thursdays.
- Print a coupon on the KISS-FM website and get half-price admission on Fridays.
Gates open daily at 7 a.m. and tickets can be purchased in advance at North Texas Kroger locations.
Parking in official State Fair lots costs $15 per space. Alternatively fair-goers can take public transportation. There is a Dallas Area Rapid Transit rail station at the front gate of Fair Park.
Each year foodies flock to the fairgrounds to try the latest fair food. This year there are several new items to try:
Created by Isaac Rousso, this sweet treat may appear to be a french fry but is far from it. The fries, which won most creative this year, are offered in chocolate chip or sprinkles and served with your choice of strawberry or milk chocolate sauce.
Dr Pepper Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Like Dr Pepper? This ice cream dish combines Dr Pepper with mini chocolate chips.
This is the first time in the fair’s history that Jell-O has been used to create an unique dish. Created by Ruth Hauntz, the cherry-flavored Jell-O has a panko-crusted breading and is covered with powdered sugar. This dish won best taste this year.
Blackened Shrimp Baked Potato
This hot potato features blackened shrimp with a hint of spice. It is topped with cheese and parsley, then drizzled with butter.
Caribbean Pineapple Korn-a-Copia
This dish features marinated grilled chicken and shrimp served over a bed of yellow Caribbean fried rice and topped with a tropical salsa and pineapple rum glaze.
Don’t want to go to the fair to try the food? Inside of the Walmart located at 425 Coit Road, Plano, there is a new restaurant called State Fair Treats, which serves 45 menu items ranging in price from $1.50-$7.50.
Seventy-five different headliners and regional musicians will perform throughout the 24 days of the fair. Best of all, the concerts are free with admission. Here are some of the headliners:
Sept. 30—Kacey Musgraves, 8:30 p.m.
Oct. 1—Jasmine Sullivan, 2 p.m.
Oct. 2—Chris Perez Project, 3 p.m.
Oct. 2—A B Quintanilla Y Los Kumbia King All Starz, 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 7—Prophets & Outlaws, 5:30 & 8:30 p.m.
Oct. 8—Cody Johnson, 8:30 p.m.
Oct. 10— Ben Rector, 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 15—Nelly, 8:30 p.m.
Oct. 22—Colton Dixon, 6 p.m.
Oct. 23—Skillet, 8:30 p.m.
Oct. 23—La Energia Nortena, 3 p.m.
During the fair approximately 400 of the latest car models from the world’s leading manufacturers will be showcased. Auto show building hours are: Sun.-Thu. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
More than 70 rides, including the iconic 212-foot Texas Star Ferris wheel, carousel and Texas Tower, are open to fairgoers. Coupons are 50 cents each and may be purchased at coupon booths located throughout the fairground. The average ride is 10 to 12 coupons. Food and ride coupons can be purchased online in advance, but allow seven days for delivery.
Can’t miss it: Take a photo with Big TEX
Everyone knows you cannot leave the State Fair without taking a picture with the iconic 55-foot tall Big Tex. This year the cowboy is sporting a different outfit: a new Dickies shirt and jeans, and a ribbon to honor the Dallas police officers killed in July.
For more information about the State Fair of Texas, visit www.bigtex.com.