The State Fair of Texas opens today. This year’s theme is “Big and Bright” and there’s plenty of sparkle on the Midway.
The Big Bamboo is a brand-new, old-time fun house. It’s got a Beach Boys “let’s go surfin’” theme. There are a handful of other fun houses sprinkled on the Midway, but this new one is the Big Kahuna.
“Okay, so we go up the suspension bridge 35 foot to the next level right up there. So, you want to go first?” asked Ross Owens, who built the Big Bamboo.
“Here we go.”
He looked like a proud papa leading the tour.
“I was nervous until about Tuesday night. Then everything started coming together pretty good. It took us about three-and-a-half months to build it,” said Ross. “But we’ve been pretty much on it for a year and a half. Okay, so we’re now on the second level. We have a couple of distortion mirrors here, mirrors to make people look funny.”
That’s what you expect in a fun house, but Big Bamboo designer Greg Duncan says there are a couple of upgrades to this one, including a water fall that you walk under, and a great place to take photos and Facebook ‘em.
“We also have some photo opportunities up top,” said Duncan. “Everybody having a cell phone now, they can take their picture with their head sticking out of a Volkswagen surf bus or laying in a hammock with a cocktail. I think everybody’s going to have a lot of fun with this one.”
Take it from me, the back seat of the VW surf bus is the best … makes you look just like a surfer girl!
Rusty Fitzgerald with the Fair says there has been a fun house on this spot of the Midway for more than 40 years, and it’s always been a big family attraction. Megan Jonas and Gaylen Rhudy agreed. They were setting up a nacho concession stand close to the new fun house.
General admission tickets for the State Fair Of Texas are the same as last year: $16; fairground parking is $15. DART’s Green Line can drop you off at the front gate. The Fair runs through October 21st.
“I think they’re still fun especially for the kids,” said Jonas.
“Oh, I definitely think they’re still fun, even for adults,” added Rhudy.
The Big Bamboo Fun House is not the only new item on the Midway this year. Dan Dudley, safety engineer, says there are half a dozen new rides.
“Well we got a new one called the Flying Raid and the Flipper,” said Dudley. They’re wild rides. They spin you around turn you upside down at a high rate of speed. And then we’ve got the new ride the Straosphere.”
Roger Martinski runs it.
“It’s 200 foot tall and when you go up we swing you in a circle,” said Martinski. “First time here, yes it is. First time in the United States, it was built in Holland.”
And if you’re hankerin’ for this year’s Big Tex Choice Award winner ‘Fried Jambalaya’, it’s on the Midway, too – between the Big Bamboo and the Stratosphere Swing.
The iconic neon Midway sign … a big and bright fixture since 1948 … is repaired and ready. It sustained major damage during the big hail storm in June. And Big Tex is standing tall and lookin’ good – ready to preside over his 60th great State Fair of Texas.
“Howdy folks, this is Big Tex.”