State Fair of Texas

Dallas Mayor Suggests Keto List & Map for State Fair. Is He Saying We're Fat?

"Howdy folks, do these pants make me look fat? I feel super bloated."
"Howdy folks, do these pants make me look fat? I feel super bloated." Kathy Tran
click to enlarge "Howdy folks, do these pants make me look fat? I feel super bloated." - KATHY TRAN
"Howdy folks, do these pants make me look fat? I feel super bloated."
Kathy Tran
On Wednesday morning, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson tweeted an idea he had for the State Fair of Texas. An idea that he said was “sure to be as popular as ole Big Tex himself.”* Ready? Drumroll …  The mayor suggested the good folks at the fair produce a list of keto foods available at the event this year and (and!) a map of where to find them.

Listen, Mr. Mayor, most of the food is either deep-fried, dipped in batter, rolled in sugar or, most likely, all three. Watching your diet at the fair is like bringing hand sanitizer to an orgy. It won't help, and everyone already knows that what they're there for might not be healthy. Just have fun.

The most visual representation of what the fair means to people was likely demonstrated at the fair’s drive-thru pandemic event in 2020. Anthony Macias wrote about waiting for an hour and a half in line and not because he was jonesing for a corny dog. Rather, he and his family wanted the experience. People find a nostalgic comfort, perhaps a decades-long tradition in attending the fair every year and eating whatever they damn well please.


Last year we looked at the economic impact of the fair being canceled and it was eye-popping; The State Fair of Texas estimates it pumps $400 million into the North Texas economy each year. That's their number and is arguable, we suppose, but this isn't: As a nonprofit, it directed nearly $500,000 in grants to 67 different organizations in the southern sector of Dallas in 2019. It also doled out $1.24 million in college scholarships to graduating seniors, mostly to students at the six Dallas ISD high schools nearest Fair Park. On top of that, there were 120 youth livestock scholarships, rewarding kids for taking care of and raising animals.


We reached out to the people who take care of lists and maps at the fair to see if they caught wind of the mayor's request.

“Yes, I did see it,” the fair’s spokesperson and senior vice president of public relations, Karissa Condoianis, responded. “I am sure we have keto options, so my team is planning to dig a little deeper on it as menus are finalized for this year.”

Condoianis say she’s not too familiar with the low-carb, high-fat keto diet, “So please correct me if I’m wrong, but the first thing that popped into my mind when I read the tweet was [that] I think a turkey leg is keto-friendly. Which would lead me to think that sausage-on-a-stick and the many options of BBQ (without the sauce, of course) served at the fair might be as well.

“We pride ourselves on having something for everyone at the State Fair of Texas and that includes us working with our incredible concessionaires on making food lists for all dietary needs, including vegetarian and gluten-free, so we can answer these types of questions when asked. Looks like we may be adding keto-friendly to that list.”

The 2021 State Fair of Texas runs Sept. 24 through Oct. 17 at Fair Park. Visit BigTex.com for more information..

*The mayor appears to have a low opinion of Big Tex's popularity.
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.