October 8, 2006: Greg's New Dallas Condo
September 6 & 21, 2006: Some Miscellaneous Pictures
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October 8, 2006
The State Fair of Texas



My friend Greg from Palm Springs came into town on Friday, October 6, to stay the weekend and go to the State Fair with his friend Tim. Greg has stayed with Tim and David on occasion, and going to the Fair is something of a tradition with them, although David hates the Fair and usually stays home. Fred and I decided to go to the Fair with the two of them, since it had been some years since we'd attended.


Getting to the Fair


We met over at Tim's house, and the four of us headed off for the Fair about noontime. Tim had already picked up some discount tickets at Albertson's, so we all paid him and drove over to Fair Park. Fair Park is quite near downtown and is the location of the Cotton Bowl:

We found a parking lot a few blocks from the Fair, and then walked down the street to the fair entrance. A little ways into the Fair, Fred found a good vantage point to take a picture of downtown Dallas and you can see just how close the Fair is to downtown. Incidentally, the picture you just saw had quite a few power lines and stuff like that in it, but I erased them with Photoshop. I've always thought that Dallas would be improved a thousand percent if only the power lines had been buried way back when. I guess people are used to seeing them, until you visit a place like Scottsdale, AZ or the newest sections of some other cities, and see how nice things can look without them. Unfortunately, I suppose it's way too late now.

Just inside the Fair entrance there is a reflecting pool, flanked on either side by some of the buildings where the auto show is housed. This was a good place for me to take a picture of Greg, Tim and Fred.


Junk Food for Lunch


Lunch was on everyone's mind when we arrived and nothing, it seemed would satisfy except Fletcher's original corny dogs. There are lots of corny dog stands at the Fair; the idea isn't patented so lots of people make them. But Greg and Tim would accept no substitutes, so we headed over to the Midway area so they could visit the Fletcher's corny dog stand. The line at the corny dog stand was pretty long, but the guys seemed to think it would be worth the wait. For myself, I stopped at a different stand for some curly fries and a drink. These particular food stands were at the crossroads of the Fair, the spot where the symbol of the Texas State Fair, "Big Tex" is located. Big Tex has been around for as long as I've been in Dallas, and was probably in place a lot longer than that. Although in this day and age, were he to be reconstructed, he would probably be animatronic- that is, he would move in various ways. But he's not that up-to-date; all he can do is talk via pre-recorded tapes. He welcomes fairgoers, gives outgeneral information- that sort of thing. He is tall, however, and he towers over the midway.

It was while the guys were waiting for their corny dogs that a friend of Tim's, oddly enough actually related in some way to the Fletcher family, joined us for part of the afternoon. Mark (if I recall his name correctly) joined us at Big Tex, and spent most of the rest of the day wandering around with us. Greg seemed to be more animated once he joined the group, and I took this to be an indication that Greg thought he was an interesting, attractive addition to the group. In he picture at left, taken along the midway, you have me, Tim, Mark and Greg.


The Midway


No fair or carnival would be complete, of course, without a Midway- the name given to that area of the fair where one can find the "games of chance," which in truth are just a little less than random. In recent years, local authorities have taken steps to ensure that the most egregious scams (e.g., trying to knock over bottles that are wired together or weighted) have been eliminated, but most of the games are still quite a bit more difficult than they look. We didn't play many, although Tim tried his luck at one of the shooting games.

There was more "junk food" to be had on the Midway. For my part, I found a TCBY and got a sorbet; everyone else got deep-fried pralines.


The Exhibition Halls


One of the main reasons to go to the State Fair is to visit the buildings that, at least originally, displayed food items, crafts and other items that were produced statewide, and which were brought to the fair by the people who produced them. There is still some of that, but nowadays there are more displays of things like cooking utensils, clothing, hot tubs, gutter systems, appliances and gadgets- probably none of which are even produced in Texas. But it is interesting to see what's out there; a few years ago, Greg and I bought small clothing presses and mine, at least, has saved me lots of money and time over the years.

There were a couple of standout vendors, though. I bought some excellent fudge from one vendor, and Fred bought a neck pillow with some kind of space-age stuffing from another. He also found a Texas flag shirt to give me for Christmas. One vendor had a large carved buffalo as part of its display. In another hall, we ran across, if you can believe it, a life-size sculpture of Marilyn Monroe sculpted entirely from butter!

One of the main displays at the Texas State Fair has always been the new cars and concept vehicles. There are two entire halls devoted to autos, and there were more people in them than anywhere else. You can see everything from the new gigantic SUVs, through the new mini-sedans, through the concept cars and on through the trucks (always dear to the hearts of Texans. I actually saw a small SUV that I might put on my list for my next vehicle- the Chrysler Caliber. But, if I were in the market for a kick-ass truck, had an oversize garage, didn't give a whit for the price of gasoline and probably also had "endowment issues," I would definitely consider Chevrolet's concept truck- the Super Chief. If the name sounds familiar, it probably is, and one look at the truck will make the connection. It looks for all the world like the front of the railroad train nicknamed "The Super Chief." And the damn truck is just about as big!


Design and Architecture


Even if you took away all the food, the games, the rides the exhibitions and the people, the State Fair of Texas would still be worth the price of admission. The architecture and decoration of the buildings forms an exhibit of its own. Much of the Fair was done in the Art Deco style, since many of the buildings were built back in the 20s and 30s. And the ones that have been build more recently have been built in that same style. As an example, here is the relatively new Texas Women's Museum that just opened last year.

But it's not just the buildings themselves, it's the way they are adorned. In this vein, the best examples we found were on the agricultural buildings, where the emphasis is on the natural world and its bounty, and the images are intended to convey that kind of message. Fred took a number of excellent pictures of this adornment, and we've chosen the best six of them to display below. They will give you a good idea of what most of the buildings at the Fair actually look like.

So, architecture is one of the most interesting aspects of the State Fair. But as you saw at the beginning of this section of pictures, architecture in Dallas neither starts with nor ends with the State Fair. The city itself is a veritable cornucopia of architectural points of interest. Just as we left the Fair, Fred was able to capture another view of downtown Dallas showing some of them.


October 8, 2006: Greg's New Dallas Condo
September 6 & 21, 2006: Some Miscellaneous Pictures
Return to Index for 2006