The slogan that “everything is bigger in Texas” definitely applies to the State Fair of Texas. Held annually for 24 consecutive days starting on the last Friday of September, this event draws people from all over the state and country as fair mascot Big Tex welcomes them with his signature greeting, “howdy.” Originally created in 1886 to feature the best that Texas has to offer, the fair promises a “family-friendly environment” that promotes “agriculture, education, and community involvement,” including a full roster of 100 daily shows and activities like pig races, milking demos in the livestock areas, and a midway full of rides and games that take place at Fair Park.
But, a huge draw for fair attendees is found in the deep fryer. Created in 2005, the Big Tex Food awards continues to challenge concessionaires to answer the question, can you deep-fry it? To enter the competition, a concessionaire has to have participated in the fair for at least a year. The winning creation nabs the coveted Big Tex Food Award trophy that looks like an Oscar but of course, with a Big Tex figurine on it instead. The food awards are just the beginning of mapping the fair by food—225 concession stands are scattered throughout the fairgrounds offering a wide array of options. In 2015, food and Midway ride coupon sales generated more than $53.6 million, the most successful fair in its long history. And, over 300,000 pounds of canned food were donated at the 2015 fair. Make a plan, pack your bags and head to Dallas for fun, football, and of course, food you can only find at the fair.
Annelies Zijderveld’s first cookbook, Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea, is available now. She has been published in Curator magazine, Arthouse America, and Sated Magazine. Follow her teatime antics and cooking with tea journey on Instagram.