State Fair of Texas

State Fair of Texas Wraps Up Its Pandemic Season

How this year's fair looked.
How this year's fair looked. courtesy of the State Fair of Texas
Hopefully, a year from now, we’ll be publishing a slideshow of the festive hullabaloo that was the State Fair of Texas.

This year, the folks at the fair have wrapped up a season that succumbed to the coronavirus pandemic and pivoted with a drive-thru experience.

For 15 days, fair-goers waited in car lines to get the closest thing to a fair experience that was possible this year.

Nearly 23,000 carloads of people went through, and 32,000 photos were taken with Big Tex wearing his mask.

Instead of the usual process for new creations in fair food, this year the State Fair of Texas went through the 32 winners of the last 15 years, and nearly 65,000 people voted for their favorites. Nick Bert’s Texas Fried Fritos earned the top spot.

The progressive fair food experience had people waiting in lines for hours in some cases, but throughout the season, we saw friends posting pictures of smiling faces soon to be getting their fill of Fletcher’s Original Corny Dogs.

Participants still submitted crafts to be judged, and more than 5,300 projects (more than 2,800 people) went through the process.

Some of our favorites were by East Dallas resident Brooke Brooks, who earned a blue ribbon for her rose cake and an honorable mention for a corn dog cake.

Brooke Brooks, Adult, Texas-Themed

Posted by State Fair of Texas on Friday, October 9, 2020

Our favorite part of the fair's press release about attendance may be this item: “Due to the results of the 2019 State Fair, the State Fair of Texas was able to provide $2.5 million in 2020 for Fair Park improvements to the city of Dallas.”

The release announced other good deeds, including donating 21,000 pounds of fresh produce to South Dallas residents, awarding $1.24 million in new college scholarships and awarding movers and shakers as part of the properly named Juanita Craft Humanitarian Awards.

Next year’s dates are already set. We won’t bother sharing everyone else’s shared thoughts about what we hope the world will be like then, but the State Fair of Texas is planned to resume Sept. 24 through Oct. 17, 2021.
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Taylor Adams has written about the restaurant industry for the Dallas Observer since 2016. Now the Observer's food editor, she attended Southern Methodist University before covering local news at The Dallas Morning News.