As Texas’ summer heat subsides, more than 2 million visitors will say “howdy” to Big Tex, the towering 55-foot cowboy, as they enter the State Fair of Texas. Gates are open Sept. 28-Oct. 21 in Dallas’ famed Fair Park, host since 1886. Some visitors seek out deep-fried banana pudding, while others find glory in the cooking competitions. Carnival rides will spin you around while stunt dogs do the flipping in one of the fair’s numerous family friendly shows. Watch a chainsaw carver transform a piece of timber into art, or view the nightly fireworks and dancing water show. No state fair trip is complete without seeing the year’s butter sculpture representing the theme “Celebrating Texas Innovation.” Admission includes 75 concerts by regional performers and headliners on the main stage during the 24-day event. Some of the star power making an appearance this year include Ludacris, Casting Crowns, and Hunter Hayes.