Alice Column

The Cheap Bastard's Guide to the State Fair

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Free Fair Stuff for All
There's a ton of stuff at the fair that's free with admission. Drink it in.

Opening Day Big Tex Time At 2 p.m. on Opening Day, they'll unveil what will surely be a somewhat frightening version of Big Tex -- less scary than when his face was on fire, more scary than just before his face was on fire. We should assume the new version of Big Tex will be exactly like the new version of Jerry Jones: made of 100 percent shiny plastic, full of empty slogans and happy to take your money.

Watch Old Ladies Glare at Each Other On any morning of the fair, walk into the Creative Arts building, where all of the food competitions are hosted, and watch some old ladies talk shit at each other.

Their anger is purer than Walter White's meth. It goes back half a century to when they competed in this sweet-pickles category for the first time at the young age of 70. Before the blue ribbons are handed out, everyone's all Texan-lady nice to each other, with their fake smiles and their "bless your little heart"-ing. Then the results come in, the tennis balls come off the walkers and shit gets real. Minutes later, passersby see the carnage and don't understand: A fair worker sweeps golden hoop earrings, several gray wigs, knuckle blood and heart meds. Glorious angry gramma-ing is all around you, and laughing at it costs nothing but a slice of your soul.

Ostrich Races This year, the fair brings you ostrich races for the first time. The ostriches will be ridden by jockeys. Three ostriches race at a time. I've never seen an ostrich race before, but it promises to be better than the best rainbows. Do the ostriches wear little helmets? Is there head-to-ostrich-head ramming involved? Are there holes on the course for them to stick their heads into? How much glitter is allowed? Do they throw ostrich 'bows as they run the course? At what time does PETA show up? So many questions. And all answers point to awesome.

Birds of the World Didn't get enough sweet-ass bird-on-bird action at the ostrich races? Check out the Birds of The World show when you feel like sitting on some hot bleachers would be really fun. Every year, some crazy bird flies from the top of the Texas Star Ferris wheel and divebombs the audience. If you look closely, you can see the exact moment in time that the drunks, potheads and toddlers crap themselves with bird excitement.

Big Tex Photo Photobombing Taking a photo with Big Tex is a State Fair tradition. Help make those photos so much more memorable by photobombing them with your naked butt. Buttbombing is the new planking, y'all.

Butter Sculpture! Every year, there's a sculpture at the fair carved out of butter. Because: America. This year, the butter sculpture will be a tribute to Big Tex. They're using 2,400 pounds of butter to create the sculpture -- compared with 1,100 last year -- and they're hoping to break the Guinness Book of World Records record for Most Ridiculous Shit Ever Done in the History of Ever. BYO butter knife and loaf of French bread for a free snack.

Celebrity Chef Demos Take a break from the heat and watch fancy chefs make fancy food in the air-conditioned Creative Arts building. Feel free to heckle Maple & Motor chef Jack Perkins during his demo. Just know he'll heckle you back. Heckle start: "Hey, Jack Perkins, can you put hummus on my burger?" Heckle follow-up, after he tells you what "hummus burger" means according to Urban Dictionary and calls your mom a whore: (run out of chef demo room crying).

Auto Show in the Automobile Building There are cars. You can see them. And this building is air-conditioned, so you won't be sweating your boobs off while you make out in the back seat of that 2015 Ford Explorer. If you need some self-enforced fried-coma nap time, this is the place.

Midway Heckling Midway games can get expensive. But making fun of people is always free. Point and laugh as a father fails at knocking down bottles for the fifth time. Bonus: This activity comes with free punches in your earhole.

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Alice Laussade writes about food, kids, music, and anything else she finds to be completely ridiculous. She created and hosts the Dallas event, Meat Fight, which is a barbecue competition and fundraiser that benefits the National MS Society. Last year, the event raised $100,000 for people living with MS, and 750 people could be seen shoving sausage links into their faces. And one time, she won a James Beard Award for Humor in Writing. That was pretty cool.
Contact: Alice Laussade