State Fair of Texas Guide: Oct. 6-Oct. 12

Photo of a handsome gentleman in beautifully crafted apparel by Desiree Espada.

We survived the first week of the State Fair. Have you gotten your yearly dose of absurd artery cloggers yet? Despite consuming a bird dog, an empanada, a Greek salad with weird lettuce noodles, a fruit cup, fried chocolate tres leches cake, and a few bites of fried grilled cheese, the culinary highlight of my visit was definitely the Good Karma Kitchen/SlushWorks food truck parked inside the Food & Fiber pavilion. The gluten-free deconstructed cheese and jalapeño tamale was absolutely fantastic, and so was the strawberry-lemonade-Texas basil slush. And after all that, I went home and indulged in some sort of blackout food coma.

Now, on to this week’s guide to the events you don’t want to miss. Our concert guide is right here.

October 6

Wander over to the Hall of State steps to catch Bulgarian Folk Dance Ensemble (10 am, 11:50), Daniel de Cordoba Bailes Espanoles (10:20 am, 11:30), the Dallas Highland Dancers (10:40 am, 1:10 pm), Keola’s Hula Halau (11 am, 12:40 pm), Philippine Dance Company of San Antonio (12:10 pm, 2:20 pm), Mexico 2000 Folklorico Dance School (1 pm), Arirang Korean Dance (3:10, 5:10 pm), Samba Vida (3:40 pm), Mitotiliztli Yaoyollohti (4:30 pm, 6:40 pm), and Hula Halau Ohana Elikapeka (5:40 pm, 7:30 pm).

Springfree Trampoline Olympian Steven Gluckstein. My mind was blown this past Olympics when I realized the trampoline was an actual event. Gluckstein here was part of the USA team that competed in London (he failed to qualify, unfortunately), and he’s a national champ. Watch him flip. 11 am, Coliseum.

Cooking Demo: Bob Stephenson of FnG Eats. Assistant dining editor Carol Shih tells me that Stephenson is just about the sweetest chef you could ever hope to meet. She also tells me his slam poetry stage name is Whopeecat. 12:30 p.m., Maytag Celebrity Kitchen.

The State Fair Classic: Grambling State vs. Prairie View A&M. It’s a battle of the big jungle cats as the Grambling Tigers take on the Prairie View Panthers. Even for nonfans, this annual football game features a massive pregame concert with Elle Varner & the Rebirth Brass Band. In between plays, there are cheesy nachos, the halftime show, and the promise of the after-party at the Dallas Convention Center. 6 pm, Cotton Bowl.

Ruthie Foster. 8:30 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

Not braces-friendly. Photo by Jason Janik.


October 7

Pie Contest. There’s maybe fruit in some of these, so it practically counts as health food. 10:30 am, Contest Kitchen.

Corvette Legends of Texas. See some beautiful vintage ‘vettes. 10 am, Classic Corral.

Ramon Ayala. 3 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

Brandon Jackson. 6 & 8:30 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

October 8

Cooking Demo: Joe Garza of The French Room at the Adolphus Hotel. Learn how to cook fancy French. 6 pm, Maytag Celebrity Kitchen.

Texas Forestry Association Seedling Giveaway. Tiny trees for everyone! 10 am, Go Texan Gazebo Stage.

Chase Stites. Noon and 1:30 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

The Zots. 3 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

Bridgit Mendler. 5:30 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

October 9

Cooking Demo: Kay Agnew of Margaux’s Bridge Bistro. Hopefully she’ll show us how to make those delicious crawfish enchiladas. 4:30 pm, Maytag Celebrity Kitchen.

Agriculture Public Speaking Finals. 4 pm, Go Texan Gazebo Stage.

The Nouveaux Honkies. 4 pm, 5:45 pm, and 8:30 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

October 10

The Great American Spam Championship Contest. People Newspapers assistant managing editor and award-winning journalist Bradford Pearson was just telling us how delicious a fried hunk of Spam is on a breakfast sandwich. 10:30 am, Contest Kitchen.

Have an Ice Cream Float Day. Why yes, I will, thank you. Noon, Go Texan Gazebo Stage.

Cooking Demo: Jack Perkins of Maple and Motor. Perkins makes a mean burger. 6 pm, Maytag Celebrity Kitchen.

Shoot Low Sheriff. 4, 5:45, & 8:30 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

October 11

The Dallas Banjo Band. Noon, Go Texan Gazebo Stage.

The Royal Rhythmaires. 4, 5:45, & 8:30 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

Los Tangueros de Dallas. Watch the pros tango. 6 pm, Women’s Museum (part of Mundo Latino).

Photo by Jason Janik.


October 12

Pan Am Angora and Colored Angora Goat Show. See where that ill-advised jacket came from. 10 am, Swine Arena.

Kobayashi Hot Dog Eating Contest. “He’s world famous,” says assistant dining editor and Kobayashi super fan Carol Shih, only she said it with a lot more exclamation points in her voice. Anyway, Takeru Kobayashi is a Japanese competitive eater who holds (and consistently break) the world record for the number of hot dog dogs he can scarf down in ten minutes. Gah-ross. He ate 110 in New York in August. Can he eat more in Dallas? Two ways to find out. One, attend the competition and watch this marvel of human strength and resilience pack away a lot of wieners. Two, read about it on SideDish later. 4 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

The Results. 5:45 & 7:30 pm, Chevrolet Main Stage.

Jagged Row. 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.

Chinese Lantern Festival. Photo by William Neal.

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.