The Deep Fried Festival of Goodness is here! Snitches, the State Fair is finally on! I remember going to The Fair as a kid and it was all about the rides and midway games. Now, I’m all about the food. And they didn’t disappoint with the number of interesting fried things and sheer volume of what you could shovel into your mouth. We headed out with #snitchfriends Mark and Kristina and made a day of it.
First things first – for the love of Pete, DO NOT pay full price! Check out the Discounts Page on the official State Fair website. There, you can find great advance ticket discounts like the family 4-pack for $99 – and that includes 4 discounted tix and $50 in coupons! You can also get Group tickets and other deals. IMPORTANT – you cannot get any discounted prices at the ticket window – so do yourself and your pocketbook a favor and buy in advance. You can print your tickets at home or just show the barcode on your phone.
Hold up. Did I just say “pocketbook?” What is this? The 1950s? Where did that come from? I’m totally turning into a grandma. Seriously. I just told you to get discounts. Next, I’ll be telling you to bring a ziplock bag to store extra rolls from the restaurant and to pocket some Sweet-n-Low for later. WTF?
Let’s just move on like nothing happened.
Second thing to note: DO NOT think you can just drive up to the entrance and roll up on in there. That would be a mistake. You will probably spend a good hour in traffic since all the roads to Fair Park will be jammed up. And if you’re like me, you don’t eat for 2 days so you can bank all those calories – so then you’re a hangry driver. Don’t be that.
#SNITCHTIP: Park at one of the Green Rail stops (Victory Park, Deep Ellum, West End or even further north at the Carrollton Station) and then ride the train the rest of the way down. It’ll drop you off RIGHT IN FRONT of the entrance. Tickets for a DayPass are $5 and that will get you there and back with WAY less frustration.
Okay, so now you’re parked and you’re in (at a discount!) and ready to take on the fair. Grab one of the MAP&GUIDE brochures. This will save you a ton of time trying to find stuff on your own. Also, on page 7, there is a coupon for “2 Tickets off any food item” – don’t miss that! If you’re just wanting to try all the food without having to hunt everything down – just head into the food court. All the different cuisines have a stall here – so you can just eat your way into happiness as fast as you want.
We headed through the Fair towards the Midway in search of food and festivities and we could see all the cool prizes that folks were winning – like GIANT sized Pikachus and HUGE Minions. Everybody was walking around with prizes so if you’re halfway coordinated, you need to give it a shot. I am not that person. I can trip on a perfectly flat surface and I routinely miss my own mouth with a fork. Sad. But true.
Much like our ancestors, we were in hunter-gatherer mode. It was an all-out food fiesta. Things we tried:
- Fried Chicken and Dumplings – This was actually the best thing “fried” thing we ate. The flavor was more of a chicken and stuffing flavor. It came with a spicy gravy to dip it in and all four of us loved this one.
- Fried Jello – This was kinda weird and we weren’t really feeling this one. It was a texture thing and it didn’t seem to have enough Jello flavor. Try it and see if you like it, we were ‘meh’ on it.
- Corn Dogs – Always a fair favorite. And still so so good. Especially with a mustard on top. We saw a guy put ketchup on his. What the hell is that? We decided to walk away from that crazy person.
- Sausage with jalapeno and Cheese on a stick – a new twist on a great fair staple. Everyone also loved this one – though I did end up with grease on my Texas Rangers shirt. Worth the hassle? Damn right.
- Turkey Leg – Kristina got lulled into the allure of the pile of Crispy Turkey Legs and realized that she had committed “a total rookie move” because now she was full up on delicious turkey meat. We cut her some slack because it WAS her first time to the Fair. EVER.
- Fried Tornado Potato – this is just a marvel of engineering. They basically put a potato on the end of drill and then spin it towards a knife. This cuts one super long spiral of thin potato amazing. Doctor it up with some Cajun seasoning and a bit of ketchup and you’re halfway to a carb coma.
- Fried Banana Pudding – our very last sacrifice to the Fry Gods. Mark spent about 22 minutes searching for this one. And he was not disappointed – it was the half-moon fried pie of his dreams. With whipped cream. A true TOPPER to the evening.
Things for our Second Trip (i.e., Sadly, we could eat no more this day):
- Funnel Cake Beer – This was not available on Day 1. But it was oddly appealing
- Chicken Fried Bacon – I saw someone with this and it looked good. It didn’t come with gravy for dipping – which seemed odd. But we’re going to put it on our list for trip #2.
- Deep Fried Thanksgiving Dinner – This just SMELLED amazing. I’d eat Thanksgiving 3x a year if it’s available.
- Caribbean Pineapple Korn-A-Copia – This looked so good. Like real food. And I mean that as a compliment. Totally going to check this out early on – to get a good base for all the fried food.
Outside of the food – what should you do?
- Check out the Pig Races – they have a schedule in the guide.
- Taylor Swift exhibit – it’s free during the day
- Riding the BIG TEXAS STAR – that’s a must-do. Sure, it’s campy. And it costs 16 coupons to ride. But there is just something cool about being up high.
- Check out the Main Stage schedule – some great bands are coming through.
- Petting Zoo for the kids – and yes, there are restrooms near there to wash your hands thoroughly.
- The Starlight Parade – this is a fan-favorite! It starts around 7:15, but you’ll see folks scoping out seats ahead of time.
#SnitchTip before you leave – get a bag of Cotton Candy for the road. You know you’ll end up with at least 10 coupons left – and surprisingly, the bags cost 10 coupons! Trust me. Nothing tastes finer than some freshly spun sugar floss the day after. Again. You’ll thank me.
The State Fair of Texas