as cooler weather rolls in, summer is starting to wave good-bye, and what a great summer she was! favorites included grilling out on warm evenings in our backyard (so nice to be back to the land of warm nights!), patio trips to boulevardier, brunch at the grape, trying to find the best pizza in town (cane rosso is currently winning that challenge, but you can expect this challenge to definitely extend into fall!), and picnic-ing across town with the lovely dallas picnic society.
but fall is here, and that means a lot of things: boots, apple cider, fire pits, college football, and of course, the texas state fair. i haven’t been in several years, but this year my husband bought me tickets to the famous red river showdown football rivalry between oklahoma and texas, which takes place at the cotton bowl, which is situated right smack dab in the middle of the fair. the temperatures had dropped significantly the night before, so we bundled up and took the train down to fair park to check it out.
it’s difficult to explain the texas state fair if you haven’t been before, so allow me to describe with a few photos. the fair sits in the middle of the art deco fair park complex, which also houses the women’s museum, the texas discovery gardens, and an outdoor music venue, among many others. in other words, it’s giant. big tex greets you in his famous texas drawl as you walk down the main promenade. this is the new big tex after the original from 1952 splendidly caught on fire in 2012 (funny/not funny – it was also the year big tex turned 60, was given an AARP card, and had shades of grey added to his hair – #godblesstexas).
the fair has a livestock section with goat competitions, pig and ostrich races, cattle, and horses. it has an automobile building that showcases new cars and a creative arts section with prize-winning quilts and cooking challenges by chefs. there is a building filled with inventors hawking their latest gadgets and a relaxation tent filled with new hot tubs, massage chairs, mattresses, and more. weirded out yet?
because then there is the food, the glorious fried food that booths compete over each year, trying to outdo each other with the most outlandish fried goodness. there have been fried oreos, fried s’mores, fried coke, even fried butter! this year i tried the fried sriracha balls (ok, delicious) and the fried pb&j sandwich with bananas. but the classic is fletcher’s corny dog, freshly dipped upon your order and just absolutely amazing.
beyond the food booths are the crazy carnival rides and games, which range from individual booths where you can shoot balloons to win a giant stuffed life-size gorilla to the texas star, a 212-foot ferris wheel that gives you views of all of dallas.
and finally, the game. oklahoma vs. texas, played at the exact half-way point between the two schools. students descend in droves from norman and austin, and girls don teeny flowy dresses in school colors with the mandatory cowboy boots. the players, the bands, the mascots – everything is a competition and the game itself never disappoints, especially when oklahoma somehow manages to win with a completely terrible offense.
cool temperatures, corny dogs, and the red river showdown…fall is officially here. cheers!
what are some of your favorite things to do in fall?