State Fair of Texas Guide: Sept. 28-Oct. 5

Photo by Jason Janik.

Are you ready for a solid three weeks of fried food, midway rides, and pig races? Good, because the State Fair Of Texas is here.  And while it’s still the best excuse to stuff your arteries with things like fried pork wings, deep-fried jambalaya, and bacon cinnamon rolls this side of the Rio Grande, there are plenty of other things to do when the time comes to physically remove yourself from the food court. Jump for your day-by-day plan for this first week, and find a listing of recurring events at the bottom. One of these things is free Girl Scout cookies. Every darn day.

High kicks through downtown.

Friday, September 28

Glue at Shoe Contest. For those whose shoes aren’t quite interesting enough, one of the first fair activities gives the ultra-competitive among us the opportunity to out-Bedazzle the competition. Categories include boot, high-heeled shoe, sandal, tennis shoe, and flip-flop or loafer. Entries accepted at 9 a.m., judging at 10:30 a.m. Contest Kitchen, Creative Arts Department.

Downtown Parade. It’s not like you’re actually working or anything. Noon, downtown Dallas.

Cooking Demo: Sharon van Meter of 2015 at Trinity Groves. Get a sneak peek at what’s cooking in the to-be-developed Trinity Groves district. 2:30 pm, Maytag Celebrity Kitchen.

Opening Day Ceremony. Sparklers. Free stuff. 7 pm, Hall of State Steps.

Saturday, September 29

It’s a good day for fans of ethnic, folk, and clog dance. Wander over to the Hall of State steps to catch Ollimpaxqui Ballet Company (10 a.m., 11:10 a.m.), Norwegian Society of Texas (10:30 a.m., 1:20 p.m.), Fire on the Mountain Cloggers (noon, 6 p.m.), DFW Chanperu Dancers (12:20 p.m.), Bluebonnet Scottish Country Dancers (2 p.m., 4 p.m.), Aloha O Hawaii Polynesian Dance Group (3:20 p.m., 5:30 p.m.), San Antonio Contra Dancers (5:10 p.m.), and the Flemish Folkdancers of the Belgian American Club of Dallas (4:20 p.m., 6:30 pm).  Plus: Wine Tasting. Grab a glass of vino from Sunset Winery, Red Road Winery, or Pontotoc Vineyards. Drink Texan. 10 am, Wine Garden.

The country music thing makes sense, actually.
The country music thing makes sense, actually.

The O’s. John Pedigo and Taylor Young are two halves of a whole: local alt-country band The O’s. You’ll have a few chances to catch them during the day. Concerts are free with fair admission. Noon, 1:40 pm, 3:20 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

Fifty Dollar Dynasty. Shaggy-haired rockers from San Antonio. 5:45 pm & 7:30 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

Kevin Costner and Modern West. If, like us, you had no idea Kevin Costner had a band, well. Now you know. 8:30 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

Sunday, September 30

Bread baking contest. This sounds fairly straightforward, and a delicious opportunity for the carb-obsessed to eat their fill and then walk off the extra calories with a full day of traipsing around the grounds. 10:30 a.m. Contest Kitchen.

Vietnam Memorial Wreath Laying. 3 pm, DAR House.

Clay Wilson Band. Noon, 1:30 pm, 3 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

Uncle Kracker. You remember this guy. You might wish you didn’t, but you do. 5:30 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

Monday, October 1

World’s Largest Frito Chili Pie. Right. This is exactly like it sounds. Some folks are going for the Guinness Book of World Records here, so you could maybe witness history. And then eat some communal goop. 10 am, Big Tex Circle.

Cooking Demo: Chef Estevan Galindo of Hattie’s. 2:30 pm, Maytag Celebrity Kitchen.

Meagan Tubb and Shady People. A Southern rock group from Austin. 4 pm, 5:45 pm. and 8:30 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

Cooking Demo: Chef Colleen O’Hare and Chef Jeana Johnson of Acme F&B. 6 pm, Maytag Celebrity Kitchen.

I am humming you the theme song right now.
I am humming you the theme song right now.

Tuesday, October 2

Cooking Demo: Chef Joseph Chiles of Ser. Coincidentally, this new steakhouse (which took the place of Nana), opened up exactly one day before the fair opens. 12:30 pm, Maytag Celebrity Kitchen.

Rob Hunt. Not the offensive lineman, but rather, a jazz pianist. Classy. 4 pm, 5:45 pm, 8:30 pm, Chevrolet Main stage.

The Addams Family. Opening night. 8 pm, Music Hall at Fair Park.

Wednesday, October 3

Have an Ice Cream Float Day. Yes! We like ours with Coke, please. Noon, Go Texan Gazebo Stage.

Maiden Texas. 4 pm, 5:45 pm, 8:30 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame Trailer. America’s Team memorabilia. 10 am, Truck Zone/Ford.

Thursday, October 4

Youth Market Beef Steer Show. Yay, steak. 8 am, Livestock Judging Pavilion (West).

Dallas Model A Ford Club. The Model A was Ford Motor Company’s very first car, produced way back in 1903. After the company found mega success with the Model T years later, they produced a second Model A vehicle in 1927 just to make things confusing. The Dallas Model A Ford Club is concerned with the Model As built between 1928 and 1931. And if you have a thing for old-fashioned cars, here’s your chance to see some that have been painstakingly restored. 10 am, Classic Corral.

Farmer Mike works his magic.
Farmer Mike works his magic.

Cooking Demo: Chef Randall Copland of Boulevardier. 2:30 pm, Maytag Celebrity Kitchen. You could maybe learn how to make food that looks like this.

Cooking Demo: Chef/chocolate magician Katherine Clapner of Dude, Sweet Chocolate. 4:30 pm, Maytag Celebrity Kitchen.

Quebe Sisters Band. Western swing and country. 4 pm, 5:45 pm, 8:30 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

Friday, October 5

Cooking with Cheese Contest. Because why not? Cheese makes everything better. 10:30 am, Contest Kitchen.

Youth Auction of Champions. 1 pm, Tom Thumb Sale Pavilion.

Pan Am Beefmaster Beef Cattle Show. Only one person can wear the crown of “beefmaster.” Show up to see who raises the very best beef as participants from all across the United States show off their cows. 4 pm, Livestock Judging Pavilion.

Texaco Country Showdown. 5:30 pm and 8:30 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.


Milking Parlor Demos. Watch cows from local farms demonstrate modern milking procedures. 11:30 a.m., 12:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, 5:30, and 6:30 p.m. Pan Am Barn.

State Fair of Texas Wine Garden. Enjoy wine by the glass and snacks daily, plus live music from The Violin Guy on the weekends. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays through Mondays, and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays.

The Texas Skyway. Can’t decide where to eat, what to ride, or whom to see onstage? This 1,800-foot aerial track is a great way to scope out the fairgrounds.

Amazing Chinese Acrobats. A group of Chinese acrobats perform amazing aerial stunts and contort their bodies into all sorts of insane positions. Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.; additional performance at 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Gateway Plaza.

Chinese Lantern Festival. The lagoon is transformed with lights to celebrate the last day of the lunar New Year celebration. Admission is separate from State Fair admission, and the display lasts through Oct. 21. More information here.

BMX Bike Star Show. Big Time 720 Action Sports team performs gravity-defying feats. 2, 4, 6 p.m. The Thrillway.

Pig Races. Three times a night, visitors can bet on their favorite bovines as they trundle down the pike. 6, 6:45, 7:45 p.m. Pan Am Arena.

United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corp. Catch these guys, who came all the way from Washington, D.C., every afternoon at 4 p.m. from Sept. 28 to Oct. 14 at Marine Corps Square, as well as each night during the evening parade (excluding Wednesdays).

Illumination Sensation. This nightly show–likely to leave the kids (and some of their parents) with mouths agape–features lights, water, music, and fireworks. 8 p.m. Esplanade reflecting pool.

Reliant Starlight Parade. We love a parade, particularly one with lighted floats, drum and bugle players from the U.S. Marine Corps, and giant puppets. 7:15 p.m.

Chevrolet Town Square. Test drive new cars and power up your mobile phone– a super handy feature if you’re having too much fun with Instagram. Activities for kids include a car they can actually test drive themselves. East Park Plaza near gate II.

Jump! Ultimate Dog Show. Dog lovers will want to check out this show demonstrating canine skills and agility at least once. 11 a.m., noon, 1 and 2 p.m. Pan Am Arena.

Farmer Mike Pumpkin Carver. Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. — 6 p.m.; Sundays 10 a.m. — 4 p.m. Greenhouse on the Midway.

Kroger Birds of the World Showcase. 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 6 p.m. every day. The Band Shell.

Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Exhibit. I was a Girl Scout. I still like Girl Scout cookies, which you will find (for free, and also, fried) if you wander into this interactive exhibit celebrating the organization’s 100th anniversary. Here’s more information.


  • Drew

    Great pic of the midway sign & Texas Star!

  • Ginger

    Girl Scouts will be opening a time capsule from 1987 with three generations of Girl Scouts today in the Hall of State at 6:00 p.m. Would love to see you there!