Welcome, one and all, to the great State Fair of Texas! Or at least, my review of it. Part V, to be precise. This one will be the last entry for this particular event, so sit down, strap in, and let’s go for broke.
Once you get beyond the Midway at the Fair, there’s still a lot to be seen — and it’s a lot cheaper than you’d think. First of all, you have to check out all the livestock building and arenas scattered around. Among other things, there’s a fairly large stable back there, which supports the mounted officers of the Dallas Police Department (yep, there are still a few). I wasn’t able to get back into that part of the stable to take any pictures, but here’s a horse from the non-police area of the arena for you, not that you haven’t seen a horse before. I wish I could have gotten a better pic, but there were only a few horses left in the stalls, and I couldn’t get any of them to look at me. Maybe they were embarrassed or something.
Moving right along, in one building we found ourselves enjoying the Pig Races, which were really funny. They lined up four pigs with amusing names like Lindsay Loham and Kevin Bacon, and made them run around the track for the delectable treat of an Oreo cookie. As you can see in this picture, each pig had a little kid cheering for it, complete with pom-poms.
We cheered for a pig named Forrest Grunt. They had his cheerleader (a little boy) encourage the crowds to yell, “Run, Forrest, Run!”, but he still lost big-time. He tried, though. In fact, he was downright dignified in his gait, while the other pigs just tore around the track like crazed chowhounds. In his defense, Forrest was a Vietnamese potbellied pig, while the rest of them were ordinary piglets. He was probably long since an adult. He did get, there, though, and I assume he got his cookie.
Speaking of pigs, in a building next door, we found this hefty fellow.
Given the size of this picture it’s hard to get across how big this guy was, and the other pictures I took showing his length didn’t turn out. But the guy with him told us he was about 900 pounds, if I recall correctly. He’s a crossbreed, but the guy couldn’t tell us exactly what kind. And heaven forbid you should call this fellow a pig.� That term’s reserved for swine under 150 pounds; anything larger, and it’s a hog. Yep.
And was this the last of the swine we found? Heck no. Check this out, which was in yet another building:
That’s right, flying pigs. Now I didn’t mean for this entry to have a theme; it just turned out that way. Anyway, these pigs are part of a great big sand sculpture occupying the end of an arena, and apparently represent the D/FW Airport — a dubious honor, I think. In any case, the sand sculpture was very well done, as you can see in this picture.
For some reason, this picture came out with richer color than the other one. It’s actually the same sculpture, though the sand seems to be different colors from one picture to the next. Be that as it may, in the sand sculpture you can see the Dallas skyline (complete with Reunion Tower), Big Tex, the outline of the state, a representation of the Fair itself, and for some reason, Teddy Bears. It’s even dated — over on the right-hand side, see?
Well, we’re getting toward the bitter end, but I would be remiss if I didn’t point out at least one of the sound stages. This is the Chevy Stage. It was mid-day, so there we’re many people around, and hardly anyone was sitting. We missed the popular Jonas Brothers (“S.O.S.,” “The Year 3000”) by just a few days, and I understand they drew in 40,000 people. Well, this group here wasn’t quite as big, but they were good. They’re called Maiden Texas, which is a cool play on words since they’re a girl country group. By the way, you see those cars at the top of the stage, to the right and left? They’re real. Pretty cool, eh?
So there you have it, cats and kittens — a nice, long-winded five-part overview of the State Fair of Texas, vintage 2007. All the other state fairs I’ve gone to have been very much alike, though I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to see the exotic petting zoo this year, with its baby giraffe, yak, hairy Scottish cattle, and giant land tortoises. I don’t know if I just missed them, or if they weren’t here this year.
In any case, I hope this gives you a flavor of what our state fair can be like. It’s a lot of fun, and you don’t have to beggar yourself to visit — though you can spend all the money you like. There are venders galore, selling everything from cheesy resin figurines and dyed, perfumed crystal (yes, really) to cool dreamcatchers and all manner of food, of which I’ve chatted about quite a bit already. If you ever find yourself in Dallas in late September or early to mid October, I highly recommend that you visit. In fact, you might want to plan your vacation around it. Expect to do a lot of walking, and make sure you carry plenty of water with you — it can get pretty hot out there.