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For the Road: A Fair to Remember

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By Lori Moffatt


It’s time for the state fair! If it has been awhile since you’ve tasted fried peach cobbler-on-a stick, held hands on a Ferris wheel, admired the mirror-like finish on an automobile-of-the-future, caressed the silken coat of a goat, or simply joined the throngs of Texans who make the country’s largest state fair such a rollicking spectacle, we have one simple word for you: Go. It’s your duty as a Texan. Truly, the State Fair of Texas (Sep. 26-Oct. 19), which has focused attention on the state’s agriculture, industry, technology, and traditions since 1886, is an institution unlike any other.


And thanks to independent Texas filmmakers Allen Mondell and Cynthia Salzman Mondell, the fair’s appeal and history have been captured for posterity. The Mondells’ hour-long documentary A Fair to Remember features narration by über-Texan Barry Corbin, whose soothing drawl fits the tale like funnel-cake dough takes to hot oil. To create the visual aspects of the movie, Allen and Cynthia dug through thousands of images chronicling the fair from its inception, as well as years of archival and newsreel footage. They interviewed dozens of key personalities, such as Skip Fletcher, whose relatives introduced the corny dog in 1942, as well as historians knowledgeable about topics ranging from architecture and art to city planning. In documenting the fair, the film also captures the changing social mores of Texas, and of the country.


“We were astounded by the impact the fair has had on families and their traditions,” says Allen. “People told us—again and again—how they came to the fair as little ones with their parents and grandparents, and then eventually took their own kids and grandchildren.”


The film is available through the Mondells’ company Media Projects.

Learn more about the State Fair of Texas at


Read 11962 times Last modified on Friday, 13 July 2012 13:06

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