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A stroll through the State Fair

Staple+rides+at+the+fair+include+Zero-Gravity.
Michael Vines
Staple rides at the fair include Zero-Gravity.

From the Midway games to the main stage, there are countless ways to spend the day at the State Fair of Texas. For me, the stroll through Fair Park only brings two words to mind, and they aren’t Big Tex, but instead – funnel cake!

Deep fried sushi bombs. Sean Stroud

That’s right, I’m only in it for the food, and so are most of Eastfield’s students, according to surveys.

Out of the 116 students that I asked, 86 of them had plans to or had already made a trip to the fair this year. Only 26 out of those going were looking forward to the fair’s rides, leaving the other 70% to chase down greasy goodness.

Many fair-goers have a yearly tradition, like my own fried Oreo indulgence, but this time around it’s about redemption for Angel Gonzalez.

“I bought a turkey leg last year,” Gonzalez said. “I had only taken one bite out of it before someone bumped into me and made me drop it.”

Losing your food at the fair is soul-crushing because those prices are no joke. One student told me I “had to try” the butcher’s block, a heaping pile of brisket, fried chicken, sausage and jalapeños slathered in sauce, but I had to pass upon seeing its 26-ticket price point (tickets are a dollar each.)

My advice is to take a friend or two and split the cost. I did this on my trip and got to try a handful of different fried foods including my two favorites: deep fried sushi bombs and cheesy tater crab bites. 

Bourbon banana caramel sopapillas. Sean Stroud

With new boundary-pushing creations coming out annually, such as this year’s Big Tex Awards winner for “Most Creative,” the bourbon banana caramel sopapillas, it’s no wonder most Texans show up with empty bellies and fat wallets.

While most students are flocking to the fried foods, Jerry Quintanilla is on the hunt for an adrenaline rush.

“I wanna ride the Slingshot, ” Quintanilla said. “It’s the scariest ride out there. I want to be one of the ones that passes out and buys the video after.”

Deep fried cheesy scrap tater bites. Sean Stroud

Amongst those looking for thrills are some brave souls aiming to take on the Zero Gravity ride, a machine that caused me to spew on my sneakers when I was younger.

“I’ve been wanting to ride that one since I was a kid,” Lawson Collins said. “I also want to see if I’m smart enough to not run into a mirror [in the mirror maze].”

I didn’t hop on any rides this time, but I did stroll through the car show, albeit accidentally, while searching for a restroom. Most of the students I asked said they preferred the air-conditioned showroom to the clamor at the BMX show.

While the fair is a limited-time engagement, lasting less than a month, the memories made this year will hold me over until the next “Howdy, Folks!” from Big Tex.

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Sean Stroud, Editor in Chief

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