The Hall of State at Fair Park. Photo by Josh Blaylock.

Celebrate 80 Years of Fair Park This Week

Fair Park is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the opening of the Texas Centennial Exposition.

Fair Park is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the opening of the Texas Centennial Exposition this week as debate continues over what to do with the underused “national treasure,” home to the State Fair and the source of seemingly endless controversy about its impact on surrounding neighborhoods.

With that in mind, it seems especially worthwhile to visit Fair Park as it hosts four days of free events and special programming, beginning tonight with a performance by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and fireworks in the Court of Honor. And since everyone else seems happy to weigh in on the future of Fair Park, why shouldn’t you. Guests at the anniversary festival are encouraged to submit their ideas to the “Fair Park 2016 Vision Board.” You can also chime in online.

Will this week’s celebration hint at Fair Park’s full potential as an inclusive, year-round hub for Dallas and, in particular, the overlooked communities surrounding the park? Or will it drive home the shortcomings that make the revitalization of Fair Park such a daunting undertaking? Maybe a little bit of both. Regardless, the schedule of anniversary events does look like fun:

  • The DSO kicks things off tonight (Wednesday) with a performance of crowd-pleasing, family-friendly tunes in the Court of Honor. A fireworks show will follow.
  • A full lineup of live music and other performances, including a medicine show and magician combo, perform at stages throughout the park through the weekend.
  • Take a free ride on the Ferris wheel on Friday or Saturday. A section of the midway will also be open and packed with games. Lawn games and other activities can be found elsewhere.
  • For the kids: A zip line, a “vintage carousel,” an obstacle course, and some water games.
  • For the adults: A Thursday night “wine walk,” where $20 gets you a sampling glass to accompany you on a stroll through the grounds.
  • For those who pay $25 to join the “Friends of Fair Park”: Entry to a “Speakeasy at Fair Park,” with casino games, booze, and other adult-oriented fun.
  • Fair Park’s remaining museums will be open and offering free admission, and a special exhibit showcasing the history of Fair Park will run throughout the festival in the Automobile Building.

The celebration begins tonight and continues through Saturday. Go here for more info and a full schedule. A handy map is below:

festival-map

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