The Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger won’t be the only newcomer at this year’s State Fair of Texas. Fairgoers will now have another livestock building for shows, meetings, events, and conventions.
The two-story Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center opened earlier this month with a 375-seat auditorium, 350-seat banquet facility, and multipurpose space. Plans to open a 75-seat steakhouse on the second floor of the building will come to fruition for the 2018 State Fair.
The $15 million project was funded through a public-private partnership with the State Fair and the City of Dallas.
The city provided $4.5 million remaining from the 2007 bond package, and procured an additional $1.2 million in federal grants for the 55,000-square-foot building. The State Fair, in partnership with donors, came up with the remaining $9.3 million.
“The neatest part of this was the fact that it’s a $15 million project in Fair Park, which hasn’t seen a new building since 1993,” State Fair of Texas senior vice president of livestock and agriculture Daryl Real says. “The city saw value in it. We had many private donors who believe in investing in Fair Park. From that perspective, we’re very proud of the space.”
The center replaces a 1950s-era open-air sale pavilion near the Pan Am gate on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. After the roof of the original building collapsed during a rain storm in 2010, the city and the State Fair got serious about rebuilding a new livestock center.
Fort Worth-based Byrne Construction built the center designed by GFF Architects. Construction hit a few hiccups with weather delays, and had to take hiatuses for the 2015 and 2016 fairs.
The center was built to expand the scope of livestock and agriculture activities. Among other exhibits and events, it will host the Youth Livestock Auction on October 6. The foyer of the Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center will host the “I Spy Texas” exhibit that simulates a Texas road trip and demonstrates the value of the state’s natural resources and wildlife. It will also be the new permanent home for the Heritage Hall of Honor Museum and Library. When the State Fair isn’t going on, the Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center will be available for rent.
The 2017 State Fair opens September 29 and runs until October 22.