A friendly passerby offered to take our photo at last year's fair with Big Tex and (because of our woeful skill at midway games) the most expensive stuffed animal I've ever owned.
There's a little more than a week left to visit the State Fair of Texas, that grand showcase of food, entertainment, amusements, exhibits and Texas hospitality that lights up Dallas' Fair Park each fall.
This year, be sure to look for Texas Highways at the Texas Historical Commission's Heritage Trails table in the Food and Fiber Pavilion, where you can enter a daily drawing for a free subscription to the magazine. They also have some copies of the November issue to give away (while supplies last), along with plenty of information on exploring the state's 10 scenic driving trails.
After that, there's enough to do at the fair to fill a day or a whole weekend. When my husband and I made the trip last year, we made it our mission to try all the food finalists in the Big Tex Choice Awards. My favorite was the fried guacamole, while he savored the buffalo chicken in a flapjack, which took the fair's top award for 2011. There's a new roster of deep-fried delicacies to lure adventurous eaters back each year--among the 2012 awards, "Best Taste" honors went to Deep Fried Jambalaya, and the Fried Bacon Cinnamon Rolls were deemed "Most Creative." (Can you tell I'm trying to convince him that we should make the drive again this year?)
Other fair favorites include games and rides on the massive midway, pig races, museum exhibits, headliner concerts, and the nightly parade and light show. Don't miss out--the fair runs until Oct. 21.