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Big Tex Destroyed by Fire 10/19/2012 and the State Fair of Texas 2012

Updated on October 19, 2012

The iconic Big Tex was destroyed by fire 10/19/2012. It is being reported that the cause of the fire was an electrical short in the neck area.

The State Fair of Texas is annual event in Texas that runs for 24 days beginning the last Friday in September. This year's fair will be running from September 28, 2012 through October 21, 2012 at the 277 acres of Fair Park, located just two miles east of downtown Dallas.

If you've never been, you're definitely missing out. Here are a few quick facts about the State Fair of Texas:

  • The State Fair of Texas brings in a whopping $350 million annually into the Texas economy.
  • There are six buildings with approximately 370,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space
  • There are 70-75 carnival rides in addition of the Texas Star ferris wheel
  • The first state fair to be held at this location was on October 26, 1886. Approximately 14,000 attended opening day. By the closing on November 7th, over 100,000 people had attended.
  • Visitors to the 1894 fair got to see Edison's Kinetoscope, which was one of the earliest forms of motion picture.
  • In 1936 the Texas Centennial Exposition was held here and during its six month run it attracted 6 million people.
  • In 1901, auto racing makes its debut at the fair.
  • Auto shows made their debut in 1904 and today the State Fair of Texas is the only fair in the nation to host a full auto show.
  • 1916 was the first time attendance exceeded 1 million visitors.
  • The 1918 State Fair is cancelled while the US Military temporarily converted it to an aviation boot camp called Camp Dick.
  • The rivalry football game between Texas University and Oklahoma University (known as the Texas-OU game or Red River Shootout) has been played at this location during the fair every year since 1929.
  • War-related transportation issues close the fair down from 1942-1946.
  • Corny dogs, created by concessionaires Carl & Neil Fletcher are presented to the public in 1942 at one of the summer events held at the fairgrounds.
  • In 1949, the fair first saw 2 million visitors.
  • Big Tex, the 52 ft. cowboy mascot made his first appearance in 1952.
  • Elvis Presley performs at the State Fair in 1956.
  • Belgian Waffles are introduced to fair-goers in 1964.
  • In 1968, the fair first sees 3 million visitors.
  • A 212 foot ferris wheel, called the Texas Star, the largest in North America, was built in Italy and assembled at the State Fair in time for the 1985 State Fair.
  • In 1986, in honor of the Texas Sesquicentennial celebration, the fair saw almost 4 million visitors.
  • Big Tex received a new look in 1999.
  • In the 2000s, the State Fair of Texas has become known as the Fried Foods Capitol of Texas. They've introduced the world to oddities such as deep-fried Oreo cookies, deep-fried Twinkies, deep-fried pork ribs, deep-fried peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwiches and fried Coke. I've written a hub about this, called "We'll Fry Anything!".

Big Tex of the State Fair of Texas (photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)
Big Tex of the State Fair of Texas (photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)

More Fun at the State Fair of Texas

Other activities to entertain the whole family at the State Fair of Texas are:

  • Qualified drivers can take a test drive in the all-new Chevrolet Equinox, Traverse, Malibu, or Camaro.
  • The Texas Skyway is an 1800 ft. aerial track with gondolas allowing visitors to get a bird's-eye view of the park.
  • The Starlight Parade has illuminated floats, giant puppets and costumed characters.
  • Illumination Sensation is a light show with music, dancing water, pyrotechnics and a reflecting pool.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean Dive Show featuring champion divers
  • Pig Races
  • Children's Barnyard & Petting Zoo
  • Shepp's Backyard Circus
  • Bird of the World
  • Celebrity Kitchen
  • Auto Show, Truck Zone, Classic Car Corral featuring new vehicles, concept vehicles and collector classics
  • BMX Bike Show
  • Midway and Kidway (scaled down version of the Midway)
  • Wine Garden with wine-tasting
  • Pee Wee Stampede
  • Stunt Dog Show
  • Big Tex Garden Railway
  • Fall Garden Exhibition
  • Livestock Show
  • Puppet Show
  • Cultural Exhibits
  • Arts & Crafts Exhibits
  • Museums


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    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      OMG...I think that would have done it for me too! I love rides, in fact I'm a major ride fan....but I refuse to ride carnival rides. I've been on the Texas Star ferris wheel, but that's it. Give me a season pass to Six Flags and I'll ride everyday all day. Glad you're ok!

    • Ellen_C profile image

      Ellen_C 8 years ago

      Good topic! First time I went on a ride at the fair my seat belt came off during the most intense rides they had. I almost hard a heart attack I thought I was going to fall out onto the pavement. Needless to say I have not been on a ride since! Will go back this year for the other attractions...

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      There's no place like Texas, Philipo!

    • Philipo profile image

      Philipo 8 years ago from Nigeria

      This is nice and more of a place to be. Thanks for sharing.

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Thank you alekhouse! It is a lot of fun!

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Wow, this sounds like a cool state fair. Ours was over it couple of weeks ago. Sounds pretty similar to yours. Thanks for sharing.

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      I'm very glad you enjoyed it here Jaspal. My husband is from England and he made some of the same observations you did about the roads, cars and food servings.

    • Jaspal profile image

      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Oh yes, KCC, and deservedly so. Two years ago, I was in Dallas (Lewisville, Grapevine, Coppel) for some days. Had also visited many other parts of the US and each was awesome in its own way. But it was Texas with the bighearted generosity of its big built men, the wide roads, big cars, HUGE helpings of food that could give a normal person a heart attack just looking at it, the Southern charm and graces that left behind some of the best memories. :)

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks Jaspal! And there's nothing much bigger than a Texan's pride in everything "Texan". :)

    • Jaspal profile image

      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      So informative and so telling of Texas and Texans - the Lone Star State, where everything is big, tall and strong, and whatever a Texan does he does in grand style!


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