Fried food, neon lights and the dizzying heights of the Ferris wheel are classic fair experiences, but the State Fair of Texas is about so much more than fun, food and a great view.
The State Fair of Texas claims its place as the largest and longest running fair in the history of the United States. It was first held in 1886, when a group of businessmen from Dallas founded the Dallas State Fair and Exposition. Since its inception, the fair has grown to include an annual auto show, pig races, carnival rides, agricultural exhibits and demonstrations, and so much more.
The economic impact of the fair is staggering. It attracted 3.5 million people in 24 days in 2013, generating an economic impact of $608 million for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Visitors from across the state and country flock to attractions such as livestock shows and the GO TEXAN General Store, which is located in the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Food and Fiber Pavilion.
The GO TEXAN program is all about promoting the products, culture and communities that call Texas home.The GO TEXAN General Store showcases a wide variety of Texas-made products, which line the shelves for the public to purchase.
“We had 67 different companies last year, offering items such as cotton baby clothes, handmade toffee, salsas and yaupon tea, just to name a few,” says Tracey Fontenot, coordinator for marketing at the Texas Department of Agriculture. “We even had olive oil, which most folks don’t associate with Texas.”
The Food and Fiber Pavilion is a huge draw for visitors interested in the origin of the food on their plates and the clothes on their backs.
“The Pavilion is an opportunity for visitors to learn how agriculture impacts their everyday lives through exhibits, demonstrations, food sampling and stage performances,” Fontenot says.
The Texas Department of Agriculture has managed the Food and Fiber Pavilion for decades, which is a testament to the importance of its educational offerings at the State Fair.
In addition to food and fiber, just outside the Pavilion, visitors are treated to a wine garden stocked with libations from Texas vineyards.
“The wine garden features GO TEXAN members from across the state and exposes visitors to the many wine trails in Texas,” Fontenot says. “It gives visitors the opportunity to try many different kinds of wine and discover new favorites.”
Every year, the State Fair of Texas not only provides food and fun for the family, it also provides an entertaining venue to educate the community about agriculture and share the best Texas has to offer.