High Five: Some fair things to do at the State Fair of Texas


Illustration by Mattheau Faught/The Et Cetera


The State Fair of Texas is returning full-swing and welcoming everyone back with the theme, “Howdy, Folks!” which is designed to bring unity and warm greetings after such unprecedented times. Don’t miss out on the fair’s comeback which is open from Sept. 24 – Oct. 17.

Before I go to the fair, I always create a list of the top things I have to do while I’m there. I always make sure to check out a few classics I’ve been going to since I was a child and some new attractions to create the best possible experience.

However, the fair does have some CDC guidelines to follow to ensure a safe and responsible experience. For more information, visit bigtex.com/covid-19-update/.

Be sure to stay safe, say howdy and a take picture with Big Tex.



The food gets me the most excited and requires me to wear my good stretchy pants. Every year the fair introduces a plethora of new dishes from local Texans and every year the food is better than the last.

These amazing cooks come up with perfectly crafted Texas-themed food that makes your mouth water.

The food I am most craving and will be first in line to get to this year is the pork shots. The shot consists of one of Texas’ best smoked sausages with hickory bacon stuffed in a tiny bowl that’s filled with creamy mac and cheese and sprinkled with a sweet and spicy BBQ rub, which makes it one of the tastiest and most convenient foods to eat while walking around the fair grounds.

I’ll also be sure to check out the deep-fried seafood gumbo balls, which was the top winner of the savory section.

And if you’re someone like me who can’t just eat something without having a dessert  afterward, go out and get my most anticipated dessert yet, the Texas pumpkin poke cake. This cake is an Texas-shaped pumpkin cake covered with a sweet vanilla, silky caramel glaze and topped with a whipped cream and a secret spice.

You’ll be sure to completely satisfy your taste buds with these dishes.



The rides are officially back in session after being closed due to COVID-19. So you can check out some of the classic rides like the 212-foot Texas Wheel or the good old-fashioned Tilt-A-Whirl.

A fun ride that’s making its return is the Sparklett’s Log Flume. Both kids and adults can recreate their Texas-themed Splash Mountain experience by taking a swim through this moving river.

And while you’re out looking at all the amazing rides the fair will be including, don’t forget about some of the classic rides that you rode as a kid. I always ride this crazy-fast ride called Magnum, which spins you in a circle while also spinning you up and down to create the most adrenaline-filled experience I’ve ever felt since I was 10-years-old.




The Texas State Fair is nothing without its competitions. Every year there are competitions on specific days in the Competition Kitchen to see which master chef can take home the winning ribbon and the cash prize of $1,000.

Anyone can enter the contest, even on the day of competitions, so if you’re looking for a fun event to see this year or are interested in participating, check out the fair’s website to see the scheduled contests.


Here are the following competitions I’m viewing this year in hopes of maybe sneaking in a bite of some mouth-watering food.

  • Monday, Sept. 27: Chocolate Contest, Speedy Dishes
  • Friday, Oct. 8: Bread Contest
  • Tuesday, Oct. 12: Cookie Contest
  • Thursday, Oct. 14: Tex-Mex Contest

Don’t forget to check out the cooking contest handbook for all the  rules that apply at Bigtex.com/getinvolved.



The shows are a staple of what makes this fair different than others. Every year there’s always some form of amusement that isn’t just rides and foods that keep people interested and enjoying the fair.

Enjoy getting a glimpse of being on a farm by attending a milking parlor demonstration, which is located near the Fair Park Band Shell and the lagoon.

If milking cows isn’t your thing maybe try stopping by the Coliseum to check out the fastest race in Texas: the pig races.  These little piggies will run a track four times a day to show off their Sonic type speed in some of the cutest little outfits you’ve ever seen. Be sure to watch this show and make bets with your friends on the race.




The Texas State Fair always includes local Texas music acts for free. The shows include a variety of genres to cater to different musical tastes.

You don’t need a formal plan, just swing by any stage with your lawn chair or sit on the grass and enjoy a sweet variety of music that will be provided every day.