The State Fair of Texas opened back up on Sept. 24 for its 135th year after being closed due to COVID last year.
This fan favorite event has taken place since 1886 and holds visitors from cities and towns all over the state of Texas. People travel long and far from other states, too, just to see the 55-foot figure, Big Tex, and try the famous fried food.
Big Tex is the so-called “marketing icon of the annual State Fair of Texas” and has been around since 1952. He welcomes over 2.5 million visitors each year at the fair with his signature words, “Howdy Folks!”
Last year during the pandemic, people had the option to book a reservation to drive through the fair for $65; this included the most traditional fried fair food like fried Oreos and corn dogs, as well as a picture with Big Tex. Stuffed animals and cotton candy were thrown into cars as they passed the carnival games and a band played loudly on stage.
As stated on the State Fair of Texas website, “For the first time in its 134-year history, the State Fair of Texas is proud to introduce the Big Tex Fair Food Drive-Thru. This one-of-a-kind drive-thru experience will celebrate all things Texan – giving you the opportunity to get your annual photo with Big Tex and a taste of the Fair while supporting the State Fair of Texas’ nonprofit mission.”
Some of Ursuline’s biggest Texas State Fair connoisseurs decided to share what they thought.
“It was pointless. $100 and you only got a few small samples of fried food, and the focus was not on the true meaning of the fair,” Montse Spencer ’22 said.
On the other hand, Caroline Syler ’22 said, “It has been a tradition in my family to go to the fair together every year since I was little, and when they announced it was cancelled, I was devastated. Being in the car was not the same, but it did allow my family to continue our tradition.”
Because of the fair being cancellation last year, the theme of the fair this year is taken from the words of the tall Texas icon, Big Tex.
As stated on the website, “Join us in celebrating the 2021 theme “HOWDY, FOLKS!” by coming out to enjoy this year’s 24-day exposition. As we welcome back everyone, health and safety of all fairgoers, vendors, and team members remains our top priority.”
This year the fair is back up and running as it would have been pre-COVID. Karissa Condoianis, spokesperson of the fair, put out a statement after the news of opening day came out, saying that people must be aware that no event is risk-free, and it is important that everyone does their part by wearing masks and social distancing.
She also said, “We couldn’t be more excited to be welcoming everyone back this year. You can expect that it’s going to be bigger and better than ever this year.”
Although masks are not required when outdoors, visitors are encouraged to wear them. Vaccines are also not required, but they will be offered from 10a.m. to 6p.m. every day during the fair, next to Big Tex. Those who get their vaccine at the fair during this time will be given a complimentary $20 in tickets that can pay for rides and food.
In the last few days of the fair, many Ursuline students came back wanting to share their remarks on this years’ State Fair of Texas.
Grace Lamont ’22 said, “It felt more normal than ever! There were long lines of people waiting to get onto rides and crowded groups around the food vendors. It was so fun to be back after last year got cancelled.” So now the countdown begins until next year: only about 325 days until the next State Fair of Texas.