State Fair of Texas

State Fair of Texas by the Numbers: Attendance Record Broken

A new item at Fergie's Funnel was a funnel cake chicken sandwich with honey.
A new item at Fergie's Funnel was a funnel cake chicken sandwich with honey. Lauren Drewes Daniels
The State Fair of Texas has been a Dallas community staple for more than 130 years. This year surpassed all others in attendance, with 2,547,289 fairgoers across the 24-day run.

The record attendance sure put a smile on the face of Big Tex, who celebrated his 70th birthday this month with a 9-foot-by-4-foot birthday cake, surrounded by fairgoers. We recently revisited his fashion choices over the past seven decades.

The State Fair of Texas is home to some of the most extreme fried foods in the country. Cheese lovers got to try Deep-Fried Lasagna Rolls and Chicharron Explosion Nachos, which were among the fried food finalists we covered at the start of the fair season. The fried charcuterie board won the best taste in the savory category, and the Peanut Butter Paradise won in the sweet category.

This year, the fair sold 583,000 Fletcher’s corny dogs, popped 12.7 million kernels of popcorn and used more than 90,000 pounds of pure cane sugar to make cotton candy for all the kids (and sweet-toothed adults). Even the animals ate well, consuming over 24,000 pounds of hay.

Over 100 celebrity chefs brought demonstrations to the fair, including Elvis Bencamo from Shinsei Restaurant in North Dallas, Brittany Bryant from Vector Brewing in Northeast Dallas and Noah Hester from Lava Cantina in The Colony. More than 84 chefs also competed in The Big Tex BBQ & Chili Challenge. Overall, more than 2,000 people participated in cooking competitions throughout the State Fair.

Eighty-eight concessionaires served up more than 30 new food items for this year’s fair, including Fried Soul Food Egg Roll, Chocolate-Dipped Cheesecake on a Stick, Cajun Lobster Bisque Croquettes, Deep Fried Honey, Raspberry Chipotle Sopapilla Cheesecake and Pickle Pizza.

Food wasn’t just eaten — it was also given. Fairgoers donated more than 280,000 pounds of food to the North Texas Food Bank by participating in a canned food drive. Big Tex Urban Farms also donated over 13,500 pounds of fresh produce, which equates to 147,395 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables to the Fair Park community.

It would be great to go grab a giant turkey leg and big cup of lemonade at the fair right now. We’ll have to wait 'til next year.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jack Moraglia is the Observer's food intern for Fall 2022. A master of journalism student at UNT, Jack writes about various topics relating to food and culture. You can likely find him at a craft brewery with a large pretzel and a hazy IPA.
Contact: Jack Moraglia

Latest Stories