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State Fair of Texas 'Funnel Cake Queen' Wanda Winter dies

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Wanda “Fernie” Winter, known as the Funnel Cake Queen of the State Fair of Texas, died last weekend at the age of 95, NBC DFW reported.

Winter first brought her funnel cakes to Fair Park in the early 1980s and since then has become an event icon.

Winter’s family announced her death on Fernie’s Funnel Cake Facebook page: “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved mother and treasured Mimi, Wanda ‘Fernie’ Winter. She was a light in this world and we will continue to carry her flame within us. She will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.” 

The State Fair of Texas told Dallas Express she will be sorely missed.

“The State Fair of Texas was deeply saddened to hear of Fernie’s passing. As a longstanding concessionaire of the Fair for more than 50 years, she left an impression on fairgoers, fellow vendors, and our staff alike. She will be greatly missed by all,” Melanie Linnear, vice president of Food and Beverage for the SFT.

“You could find Fernie hanging out at The Dock location during the Fair, greeting hungry Fair fans with a warm smile,” Linnear said. “Even at 93 years young, Fernie still made it out to Opening Day of the 2019 State Fair.”

“She was a fiery, strong woman and her dedication to the State Fair meant everything to us. As the person credited with bringing funnel cakes to Texas, she was known as the Funnel Cake Queen and her legacy will live on through her daughters,” Linnear said.

Winter’s daughters have continued operating the Winter Family concessions business at the fair every year, and “plan to return bigger and better than ever before for the 2021 event to honor their mom,” Linnear said.

In lieu of flowers, Winter’s family has requested donations be made to the Big Tex Youth Livestock Auction and Scholarship Program, according to Linnear. Donations can be made at the Wanda Fern Locke Winter Memorial Fund.

A private service for Winter was held on June 24 and a Celebration of Life was held on the same day. She is survived by her four daughters and their spouses, six grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren. Her husband, John, preceded her in death in 1989. 

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