State Fair President Mitchell Glieber recently weighed in on his journey from the world of sports to that of corny dogs.
When the State Fair of Texas opened its gates on Friday, it was for the 10th time under the leadership of Glieber, who left behind a successful career in sports marketing with the Dallas Mavericks to manage corporate relations at one of the biggest events in Texas back in 1999.
One might wonder how Glieber made that leap from sports to fairs. It may have something to do with fairs not being susceptible to player injuries or losing streaks.
“At the fair, every day feels like a win,” Glieber told the Dallas Observer.
His father was the radio voice for the Dallas Cowboys, and his brother Craig ended up becoming a critical part of the sports team, first as the assistant director of operations and then as travel czar.
Glieber himself played on the Mustangs football team during his time at Southern Methodist University, even serving as a captain in 1989.
Majoring in finance and sports media, he toiled to sell season tickets for the Mavericks in the 1990s when the team was known as the “Mav-wrecks.” Ultimately, the draw of the fair saw him making the career switch in 1999.
“I’ve had two jobs in my life, both in the events business and both great at bringing people together for a common cause,” Glieber said, per the Texas Observer.
Craig also saw the transition from sports to the fair as a natural progression for his brother.
“They’re both in the entertainment business,” Craig told the Dallas Observer. “So it doesn’t surprise me at all. I always knew Mitchell wouldn’t have some boring 9-to-5 job. Neither of us wanted that after seeing what Dad did.”
Named president in 2014, Glieber has helped grow the fair and its impact on the community by launching several initiatives and granting over $10 million in student scholarships.
As previously covered by The Dallas Express, last year’s fair saw record-setting attendance figures. Over 2.5 million fairgoers went through the gates at Fair Park, a 15.65% increase over 2021.
Glieber expects 2023 to exceed such numbers, remarking, “Ticket presales are higher than ever before. It looks like we’re going to be in a good place.”
Still, many do not know that Glieber’s secret behind-the-scenes claim to fame at the State Fair is how he ensured that Big Tex got a voluptuous derriere after burning down in 2012.
“We’re in Texas, and you’ve got to have a little caboose in your jeans, right?” Glieber said, according to the Texas Observer.
As such, Big Tex was reborn three feet taller and with a 55-foot butt allegedly modeled after the backsides of male dancers.
“All I did was suggest we put some junk in his trunk,” Glieber added. “I still think it was a good idea. Not that I want that to be my legacy.”
Glieber is certainly building a multifaceted legacy for himself at the fair that extends beyond his colleagues playfully referring to Big Tex’s bottom as “Mitch.”