The biggest of them all is the State Fair of Texas in Dallas, which runs Sept. 30-Oct. 23. There’s certainly the annual anticipation of the new fried-food line up, rides, the midway and the Red River Showdown Cotton Bowl game between University of Texas–Austin and Oklahoma University. There’s also the annual butter sculpture, the Lords of Gravity Basketball Slam Dunk Show and the Zuzu African Acrobats. This year also brings exclusive attractions, such as “Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel – The Exhibition,” where art lovers can bypass international air fare to see this full-scale, photographic replica of the masterpiece. This is the exhibit’s first American appearance. For visitors with a different artistic inclination, there’s the Taylor Swift Experience. The exhibit, featuring memorabilia, instruments, hand-written lyrics and more gives fans an insde look at the singer’s musical journey.While the State Fair of Texas may be the most Texas sized of all, it’s not the first. That honor belongs to the Annual Washington County Fair at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Brenham, which celebrates 148 years this fall.
Touting itself as the first county fair in Texas, the fun starts this year on Sept. 10 and runs through Sept. 17. Expect rodeo events, live music, a Texas Parks & Wildlife “Critter Exhibit” and more.
The East Texas State Fair, set for Sept. 23-Oct. 2, is in its 101st year and is the longest running event in East Texas. The event is so popular, it attracts three times the population of its host city, Tyler! New this year to the East Texas State Fair? A “Miracle of Life Birthing Center” — with up to 10 baby calves being born at the fair this year, there’s a good chance you might be there to witness one as it happens. Along with quintessential fair food and festivities, you also can see a sword swallower, high-dive show, stilt walkers, free concerts and more.
Here’s a round-up of some other spots around the state to get your fair share of thrills. Because after all, what’s fall, really, without a day of deep-fried treats and tractor pulls?
Sept. 8-17, Abilene
The West Texas Fair & Rodeo Parade kicks off with a parade through downtown that ends at the fairgrounds. There, you’ll find a carnival, contests, PRCA rodeo and much more.
Sept. 9-17, Longview
If you happen to be there on the 15th, you’ll catch the highly anticipated crowning of Miss Gregg County 2016.
Sept. 13-17, Wichita Falls
Covering both sides of the Wichita River, this fair has been going strong for 22 years after the Founder Lions Club reestablished The Texas-Oklahoma Fair, which began in Wichita Falls in 1922.
Sept. 22-24, Columbus
A washer tournament, pageant, rodeo, barbecue cook-off, and car show means that there’s something for everyone in Columbus.
Sept. 23-Oct. 2, Rosenberg
Plenty of traditional and non-traditional fair activities happen every year at the Fort Bend County fair, from a duck pond to “Grapes on the Brazos,” a highly styled wine event that happens right on the fairgrounds.
Oct. 6-15, Waco
Since 1953, this 501(c) nonprofit has been giving Central Texans entertainment, education, agricultural experiences and, of course, a bustling fair.