State Fair of Texas | KERA News

State Fair of Texas

Pablo Arauz Pena / KERA News

The country’s “quirkiest landmark” is back. Big Tex made his annual reappearance today in Fair Park. The 55-foot cowboy sported a brand new navy shirt with red pockets and white stars, a flipped color palette from last year, and tailored boots and jeans.

Bill Bragg / Facebook

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Bill Bragg still wants to be the voice of Big Tex; a woman has sued Jerry Jones, accusing him of sexual assault; the Texas ag commissioner isn’t pleased with one school’s meatless Mondays; and more.

State Fair of Texas

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, what’s the fairest fair food of them all?

It’s Fried Gulf Shrimp Boil and Funnel Cake Ale.

State Fair of Texas

Big Tex has some new big duds. The State Fair of Texas on Tuesday morning unveiled new clothes for its iconic cowboy.

State Fair of Texas

Big Tex will be served up all fried, spicy and boozy this fall.

The State Fair of Texas on Monday morning announced the eight finalists vying for the annual Big Tex Choice Awards, which honors the top new foods at the fair. 

State Fair of Texas

Visitors to this year’s State Fair of Texas spent $37.2 million on food, amusement rides and other fun.

That made for a strong year, and better than last year, but just short of the 2010 record of $37.3 million.

Bill Fletcher

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Marking the one-year anniversary of the Big Tex fire, Rangers great Nolan Ryan leaves the team, lots of art in Dallas this weekend, and more:

BJ Austin / KERA News

Cars race, horses race, pigs race, and this year at the State Fair ostriches race. The competitors stand 7-feet tall: their heads well above the top frame of the starting gate. They look like miniature bobble-heads with big brown eyes – heads darting up and down, side to side as the jockeys mount. That’s right. There are riders.

For 30 years the Naval ROTC unit at the University of Texas has run the Texas-OU game ball from Austin to Dallas. Their counterparts at the University of Oklahoma did the same.

But neither will be making the trip this year. It’s not the death of a tradition – just another temporary casualty of the government shutdown.

The UT Naval ROTC unit is normally a part of the annual torchlight parade, part of a huge pep rally in anticipation of the Red River Shootout in Dallas. As part of the ceremonies at the base of the UT Tower, Coach Mack Brown would normally hand the game ball to the commanding officer  of the Naval ROTC student battalion.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

When people think the State Fair of Texas, they don’t exactly think health, they think anything and everything, deep fried.

But believe it or not, there’s a dietician-approved different route to fair food frenzy

BJ Austin / KERA News

This year’s State Fair of Texas is all about Big Tex and his triumphant return after last year’s fire. The Hall of State features the exhibit The Life and Times of Big Tex.  And this year’s butter sculpture features the iconic cowboy. 

BJ Austin / KERA News

Eric Aasen, KERA’s new digital news editor, spent five years covering the State Fair for The Dallas Morning News – and, for the past year, he had exclusive access to Big Tex’s reconstruction. His series of stories about the process started in the Morning News today and will run through the weekend.

Our definitive Big Texpert has rounded up a few key facts about the towering cowboy:

BJ Austin / KERA News

When it comes to Big Tex, all secrets can now be revealed.

R. Eddy Snell and Karen L. Miller have had to keep a big secret for the past year – perhaps the biggest secret in the state of Texas. The State Fair of Texas hired them and their group, SRO Associates, to create the new Big Tex. 

SRO is a production company near San Antonio. The company has built sets and created entertainment for several theme parks across the country, including SeaWorld, Six Flags and Hershey Park. But SRO got a lot of help from San Antonio-based Texas Scenic Company to build his interior steel structure, as well as program his movements.

Shutterstock

This fair might not have corny dogs or deep fried lattes, but it will offer a free bag of healthy groceries and an all-you-can learn Obamacare buffet.

BJ Austin / KERA News

The State Fair of Texas opens Friday.   This year’s theme is “The One & Only” and the star will be Big Tex, making a return after catching fire last year.

Christian Bradford/greychr / Flickr

Big Tex, the beloved State Fair of Texas icon, returns to Fair Park on Friday. (If you’ve been under a rock lately, the big guy burned down last October in spectacular fashion, attracting national headlines.)

Before Big Tex makes his triumphant return, we’re offering a daily online look at All Things Big Tex until Friday.

In today's edition of Big Tex 101, we take a look at his final hours -- and some video tributes.

State Fair of Texas

Big Tex, the beloved State Fair of Texas icon, returns to Fair Park on Friday. (If you’ve been under a rock lately, the big guy burned down last October in spectacular fashion, attracting national headlines.)

Before Big Tex makes his triumphant return, we’re offering a daily online look at All Things Big Tex until Friday.

In today's edition of Big Tex 101, we explore Big Tex's roots in a small town.

Before Big Tex was Big Tex, he was a Santa Claus in Kerens, about an hour south of Dallas in Navarro County.

Eric Aasen / KERA News

Big Tex, the beloved State Fair of Texas icon, returns to Fair Park on Friday. (If you’ve been under a rock lately, the big guy burned down last October in spectacular fashion, attracting national headlines.)

Before Big Tex makes his triumphant return, we’re going to offer a daily online look at All Things Big Tex each day until next Friday.

In today's edition of Big Tex 101, we offer you an up-close-and-personal look at his new home.

Brandi Korte/ladybugbkt / Flickr

Big Tex, the beloved State Fair of Texas icon, returns to Fair Park Sept. 27 -- next Friday.

(If you’ve been under a rock lately, the big guy burned down last October in spectacular fashion, attracting national headlines.)

Before Big Tex makes his triumphant return, we’re going to offer a daily online look at All Things Big Tex each day until next Friday.

Programming note: Eric Aasen, KERA's digital news editor who's a Big Tex expert, will talk about Big Tex around 12:20 p.m. today on KERA's "Anything You Ever Wanted To Know" with host Jeff Whittington. That's on KERA Radio, 90.1 FM. 

U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps

Don't strike up the band.

Sad news for State Fair music fans: For the first time in 50 years, the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps won't perform at the State Fair of Texas.

Fair officials say this year’s daily performances at Marine Corps Square in Fair Park have been cancelled because of federal budget cuts.

State Fair of Texas

We’re just three weeks away from opening day of the 2013 State Fair of Texas.

And what’s the No. 1 reason we all go to the fair? To pig out. (Corny dogs, fried butter, funnel cakes, oh my!)

You’ve already heard about the top new foods – Fried Thanksgiving Dinner and Deep Fried Cuban Roll recently won the Big Tex Choice Awards. NPR’s John Burnett recently profiled some of the creative chefs.

Check out the slideshow of the eight dishes that competed in the Big Tex Choice contest. Just looking at those pictures raises your cholesterol levels.

But what else have these fried foodies whipped up this year?

Thanksgiving never tasted like this. A newly concocted delicacy called Fried Thanksgiving Dinner won "most creative" honors today at the State Fair of Texas' annual fried food-off. And in a shocking upset, Fried Nutella was shut out of the winners' circle.

Big Tex Gets A New Voice

Jun 20, 2013
BJ Austin / KERA News

Big Tex has a new voice. The State Fair’s Sue Gooding confirms the selection from 111 applicants. 

BJ Austin / KERA News

The new summer midway at Fair Park kicked off over the weekend.

BJ Austin / KERA News

The new and improved Big Tex will also have a different voice when he debuts at the State Fair in September.

Howdy, Folks. Got Some Money For Big Tex?

Dec 27, 2012
Lyndsay Knecht / KERA News

The State Fair has set up a donation page online for Big Tex's repair.

11:50pm update: The DPD sends word that everyone is safely back on the ground:

Big Tex Flames Out

Oct 19, 2012
Justin Terveen / theurbanfabric.com

It looked like a funeral procession, as the charred and wrapped metal skeleton of Big Tex was escorted out of Fair Park by motorcycle police. Earlier Friday morning, the State Fair icon had gone up in flames.

Tom Pribyl / KERA

We can rebuild him. We have the technology.   We can make him better than he was before.  Better.  Stronger.  But might we also think about making him ... browner?

Remembering Big Tex: His History Is Ours

Oct 19, 2012
Briscoe Center For American History

Today on Anything You Ever Wanted To Know, listeners called in to pay respects to Big Tex while the burned remains of the State Fair patriarch were being carted away in pieces.

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