download-30Happy New Year everybody! Wanna know the best thing I did last year? Checking out the State Fair of Texas!

The Fair is recognized as the World’s Largest State Fair with almost three million visitors in attendance in 2016.  Last year’s fair kicked on Friday, September 30th and we were there on Saturday to enjoy the festivities with toddler, no teenager in tow.  We headed to Fair Park Saturday morning with a bustling two year old ready to conquer the fair.

The State Fair of Texas last 24 days and this annual event is held at historic Fair Park in Dallas. The fair has been around since 1886, and is organized every year except during World Wars I and II. Given my disdain for crowds, I was trying to convince myself this would not be so bad.  After all, it is early and we won’t be there long.  Right?  So we get off our exit to loads of people in neon yellow vest flagging us into different parking areas… I am thinking… okay, this seems to have some order to it.  Maybe I can handle this.

We shuffle into our selected parking area, paid the fee of just $16, pulled out the stroller and headed toward the fair.  Now since we were able to swing nifty tickets for just $12 per person.. of course, toddle tot was free, we were feeling really good until we reached the front gates and my fears started to set in… did I make the right decision?  This world is too crowded for me.  I hear a lady at the entry announcing,  “Enter here for the game.” over and over.  It’s the only line there is and we are not going to the game… we just want to go to the fair.

Oh boy!  For many people, these are non-issues, but if you are someone like me who avoids crowds as much as possible, these situations can be a tad bit stressful.  Ushering the hubby toward the ticket taker to verify we are in the correct area, we are hurried past the gates with a quick body scan/stroller scan with a lovely wand and voila! we have entered the World’s Largest State Fair.

We quickly located a stand with maps and brochures of the fair to get the lay of the land.  Of course, we wanted to find food first, but then we notice these little manned-stands everywhere with “Coupons” written all over them.  We figured these must be for the kiddie rides, right?  Wrong.  The State Fair of Texas runs a cashless system.  You need to purchase these tickets to buy food, drinks, play games and more.

So we purchased $60 worth of coupons to start.  Our first purchase was 3 brisket soft tacos for 25 coupons, vitamin water for 9 coupons and a Coke for 7 coupons.  We took a seat at nearby picnic tables to eat while watching Mexican Folklore dancing.  Afterwards, we strolled around to find the kiddie area, but were sidetracked by a potty break that led us to the Chevy Auto Show area full of cars.  Having our car-loving toddle tot with us, we ended up spending a little more time in the Auto Show then originally expected, but what they hey, we are having fun. A year earlier we went to the Round Top Antiques Fair, also a pretty nice event.

Finally, making our way out of the Auto Show and entering the Great Wolf Lodge giveaway we strolled our way to the kiddie area where we were met with tons of little ones having an explosive time.  After riding a few rides, we noticed a sign with “alligators and crocodiles” on it, so our little one had the chance to peer through the thick fence to check them out up close and in person.

Next we watched as a representative from the Dallas Zoo instructed a very well-trained bird to retrieve a $20 bill from a women’s hand.  With absolutely no interest from the toddle tot, we moved on to find a bunch of clowns lurking about… no really… there were clowns, Tenpin and the crew caught his attention for all of 2 minutes.  Now we have been here for a few hours, it is time to eat and depart.  We spent the remainder of our coupons on food and games, then headed out the gates.

What a day!

So what do you need to know:

  • Tickets:  Regular priced $18 per person over 2 (online). McDonald’s has coupons for $4 off single tickets.  Kroger’s offer tickets for Dart & Fair Entry for $18 (a savings of $4) and a $40 season ticket for the fair (at the gate).
  • Parking: approximately $16 or you can take the Dart.
  • Cashless system:  You can purchase coupons with cash or credit/debit card.  The coupon stations are in abundance so don’t fret.

There are a myriad of concerts, shows, activities and more going on every day.  For instance, the R&B singer, Miguel, took the stage at 3 p.m on Saturday, but we opted out.  Whatever your interest, make sure to grab a brochure and plan your day.   We were there for 5 hours and felt as if we did not even get to see very much the fair is so vast.  If you head out to the fair, drop us a comment to let us know how the day went for you.