Visiting the 2014 State Fair of Texas

It’s time for the great State Fair of Texas! That’s a solid reason for me to head east, if ever there was one. Here are some of my recommendations from past experience and research for this year’s family visit.

When to go. I highly recommend attending during the week. Weekends are crowded in general since many people are off work, but here’s a big PSA: Texas/OU Weekend is October 11th. Unless you are a Longhorn or Sooner, avoid the fair that weekend! Also, keep in mind that DISD’s “Fair Days” (holidays for students to go to the fair) are October 10th and 17th.

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Ticket pricing. Kroger has advance purchase tickets available in stores for cheaper than what you will pay at the gate. On Tuesdays, bring a Dr Pepper can and admission is $5. On Wednesdays, Kroger sponsors a food drive for local area food banks. Bringing three canned goods per person on those days will get you in the gate for a mere $3. On Thursdays, an empty 20 oz. Coca-Cola bottle will gain your entry for $6. Children 2 and under are admitted free every day. Don’t forget that you’ll also pay to park. Food, ride, and drink coupons are $0.50.

photo-8What to see. I’m focusing on our little guys and gals here. Each day, the fair posts the Top 10 items on the schedule. It’s worth a look! Don’t miss Little Hands on the Farm, where children learn about the lifespan of planting a seed all the way to its reaping, to delivery at market. My little guy’s favorite was the Children’s Barnyard where you can purchase feed for a few dollars and get up close to the animals. Radio Disney offers a “Kidway” in the Midway with activities for our youngsters. And you KNOW there is a dog show somewhere that your babies will love. That’s a great place to sit and take a load off. Last year we rode the Texas Skyway and loved the great view. And of course, it goes without saying that you should not miss a photo op with the legend himself, Big Tex.

What to eat. You can’t miss the mainstay that is Fletcher’s Corn Dogs and a funnel cake. But of course, you’ve got to try at least one of the Big Tex Choice Award Winners. I’m having a hard time choosing between Deep Fried Texas Bluebonnet and the Chicken Fried Loaded Baked Potato. There are plenty of other “normal” yet delicious Texas foods available for purchase, but you can always pack your own lunch and snacks. Just no glass containers.

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What to pack. Take lots of water since our Texas Fall is a breezy nearly 90 degrees. As I mentioned before, ice chests are allowed into the fair as long as you have no glass containers. We took our stroller last year, and for us, it was the best thing. It was hot, my daughter was an infant, and I don’t want to think about how sweaty we’d have been if I had worn her. At some of the locations where strollers were not allowed inside (the barnyard, for example), there was ample stroller parking. Also, don’t forget your hand sanitizer. For that matter, take a second bottle just in case!

What are your best State Fair of Texas tips?

Emily G
Emily is married to Brad and mother of the handsome Jack and precious Annabelle. After more than a decade as a software engineer (two of those as a working mother), she cleaned out her cubicle and can be found most days at one of the beautiful parks Cowtown has to offer, without a WiFi hotspot in range. These days, Emily spends her time exploring our fair city with her babes in tow, volunteering at her church, cheering on the Fightin' Texas Aggies, and shopping her way through DFW at large. You'll find her journaling her daily life at Being Mrs. Gentry.

1 COMMENT

  1. I went to the fair last Monday (September 29) with my nine month old and mom and aunt who were visiting from Kentucky. The day was picture-perfect, the weather was just right (not too warm), and the Fletcher’s corn dogs I ate were pure perfection. It was Kamden’s first state fair experience, obviously, and his first time to sit in the actual stroller instead of being buckled inside his car seat. He did amazing and really enjoyed it. My mom and aunt were impressed by the cleanliness and massive size of the State Fair of Texas.

    My only complaint was the “Baby Care” tents haphazardly located throughout the venue. I only went inside the one outside the coliseum and it was NOT impressive. To be honest, it was quite pathetic. Of all the buildings that are air-conditioned, you’d think there would be a place for parents to change their babies and mothers to nurse and/or pump in comfort. Instead, it was a 10×10 tent, with a gravel and concrete floor with a changing table (on uneven ground, mind you) inside and a blue tarp hung as a divider between two “rooms” with electrical boxes on the ground. One “room” had a wooden rocking chair while the other had an electric fan on the floor. I’ve been on mission trips to third-world countries with tent cities that are in better condition than this BABY CENTER at the State Fair of Texas. As an exclusive pumper and mother of an infant, I appreciate the IDEA but the actual product needs a lot of improvement. I’m amazed there are no family restrooms in Fair Park or changing tables have not been installed in bathrooms. For a place that is supposed to be family-friendly, it’s very difficult with a young one. Fortunately, I’m an optimistic and still enjoyed our day at the fair. In fact, I wish I had another one of those Fletcher’s corn dogs. Mmmmmm.

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