What To Know Ahead of Texas State Fair

Big Tex
Big Tex | Image by State Fair of Texas/Facebook

In approximately one month, the gates of the State Fair of Texas will open to guests.

Here’s what to know ahead of this year’s much-anticipated festivities.

Where and When

This year’s State Fair will take place from September 29 to October 22 at Fair Park off Interstate 30 in Dallas.

Those driving should put “3809 Grand Ave., Dallas” in their GPS and expect to pay $20 per parking space at one of the State Fair’s designated lots. Parking is first come, first serve for all, including the spots designated for those with disabilities.

Other ways to get to the fairgrounds include rideshares (fixed drop-off and pick-up zones at Gate 5), taxis (taxi stand at Gate 1), or taking DART’s Green Line to Fair Park Station or MLK Jr. Station.

The gates to the fairgrounds will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily but will close an hour later, at 10 p.m., on Fridays and Saturdays.

Different sections have varying operational hours, so it is recommended to check the schedule. Food concessions, outdoor exhibits, and exhibit buildings should open at 10 a.m.

How To Buy Tickets and More

Adult tickets range from $15 to $20, while those for kids and seniors vary from $5 to $18, depending on the day. Adults wishing to come to the fair after 5 p.m. can gain entry for the price of a kid’s ticket.

Participating McDonald’s locations in North Texas are also offering customers coupons for tickets.

Premium tickets that can be used for one entry any day of the fair are available for $24.

There are also different rates for groups and corporate discounts.

Season passes are also available for $50 and can be used to attend the full 24 days of the fair.

State Fair Food & Midway Coupons bought either online or inside the fair are required to purchase food and go on rides. They are $1 each and do not expire, so don’t fret if you have any leftovers.

Midway games cannot be played without a Big Tex Game Card, which can be purchased onsite.

What’s New This Year

An important change was made this year banning anyone under the age of 18 from being admitted to the fair after 5 p.m. unless they are accompanied by a parent or adult chaperone, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. Moreover, in the interest of safety, one adult cannot chaperone more than six minors at a time.

Once on the fairgrounds, adult supervision isn’t required, but state fair officials encourage chaperones with minors to have a system in place to remain in contact with all parties while enjoying the festivities in the 277-acre Fair Park.

Earlier in May, state fair officials announced that the 2023 theme will be “Explore the Midway,” as previously reported in The Dallas Express.

With over 70 rides and countless games to enjoy, attendees are invited to follow their own whims and desires while basking in the neon lights of the historic Midway arch.

Some new shows this year include the death-defying feats of the Soap Bubble Circus, 10 life-sized prehistoric reptiles on view at Dinosaurs at the Lagoon, and a massive water balloon fight called Acrobuffos.

Some Must-Sees

Don’t forget to check out some fair mainstays, such as the Texas Auto Show, college football on Saturdays, and rodeo performances at the Coliseum.

Introduced in 2005, the Big Tex Choice Awards are a much-awaited segment. Only 10 finalists remain of a field filled with inventive culinary treats ranging from deep-fried cheesy crab tater bites to loaded fries pizza.

As previously reported in The Dallas Express, three victors for the different categories of “Best Taste – Savory,” “Best Taste – Sweet,” and “Most Creative” will be announced ahead of the fair.

But attendees can still check out the dishes from concessionaires hoping to earn these top honors and bragging rights.

If you’re looking to save a buck, check out Thrifty Thursdays, when participating vendors offer discounted food prices.

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