State Fair Of Texas
September 27th - October 20th 2013
3921 Martin Luther King Blvd. Dallas, Texas 75210
Big Tex's History
In the free-wheeling years after the war, merchants in Kerens, Texas, had a problem. Residents of the tiny town were driving to nearby Corsicana or even 75 miles north to Dallas for pre-Christmas shopping sprees. Looking for a gimmick that might encourage people to spend money at local stores, the Kerens Chamber of Commerce built what they claimed was the world's largest Santa Claus, a 49-foot-tall figure constructed from iron-pipe drill casing and papier mache with 7-foot lengths of unraveled rope for a beard.
The promotion was a big success during the 1949 holidays, but the novelty wore off the following year, and community support waned. In 1951, State Fair president R. L. Thornton purchased Santa's components for $750 and hired Dallas artist Jack Bridges to create a giant cowboy out of the material.
Big Tex made his debut at the 1952 State Fair of Texas. Wearing size 70 boots and a 75-gallon hat, Tex towered 52' above wide-eyed visitors. His denim jeans and plaid shirt were donated by the H. D. Lee Company of Shawnee Mission, Kansas. Cosmetic surgery the following year straightened his nose, corrected a lascivious wink and allowed him to talk.
Big Tex Fire and 2013 Plans
State Fair of Texas officials are saddened to report the temporary loss of its long-standing icon, Big Tex during a fire mid-morning today. Around 10 a.m., smoke was noticed billowing from Big Tex’s neck and he was ultimately consumed by an ensuing blaze. The figure’s hands and cage-like skeleton, which consists of 4,200 feet of steel rods weighing three tons, remain from the fire. At this point, investigators believe the fire was caused from an electrical short that started in his right boot.
Matthew McCartin, vice president of marketing for Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co., said “Dickies® has proudly been the official clothier of Big Tex for 15 years. Although we’re saddened by today’s news, we’re confident that together with the State Fair of Texas, Big Tex will return better than ever in new Dickies apparel.”
This year marked Big Tex’s 60th anniversary at the State Fair of Texas. He made his Dallas debut at the 1952 annual exposition, after he was purchased as a Santa Claus from Kerens, Texas by then Fair president R.L. Thornton for $750. Big Tex began to speak during the 1953 event; in 1997 he began to wave and in 2000, was able to turn his head. Big Tex stats include 52-ft. height; 31-ft. chest; 10-ft. neck, and shoulders measuring 12-and-a-half feet.
Fair officials have removed Big Tex from his position in Big Tex Circle and will restore him so that he can once again fill his boots in time for the 2013 State Fair of Texas.
|Reshaping Big Tex's Facial Features||3D Animation of Big Tex's Hand|
Learn more about these John Deere items below ...
Booklet and Map Downloads:
|State Fair Booklet PDF||Event Map PDF||Parking Map PDF|
From Sherman-Plano-RichardsonTake U.S. 75 (North Central Expressway) South toward Downtown Dallas. Take exit 284A to connect to Interstate 30 East (toward Texarkana), then take exit 48B and follow directions to Fair Park.
From Austin-WacoTake Interstate 35E North to Downtown Dallas. Take exit 428B to connect to Interstate 30 East (toward Texarkana), then take exit 48B and follow directions to Fair Park.
From Fort Worth-Abilene-WeatherfordTake Interstate 30 East to Dallas. Follow the signs for Interstate 30 East toward Texarkana. After you pass Downtown Dallas, take exit 48B and follow directions to Fair Park.
From Denton-Lewisville-GainesvilleTake Interstate 35E South to Downtown Dallas and exit 427E. Immediately after taking the exit, move to one of the left two lanes which will put you on Interstate 30, Eastbound. Follow the signs for Interstate 30 East toward Texarkana. After you pass Downtown Dallas, take exit 48B and follow directions to Fair Park.
From Houston-Huntsville-Corsicana Take Interstate 45 North to exit 284A. Move to the right lane and follow the signs for Interstate 30 East. Take exit 48B and follow directions to Fair Park.
From Texarkana-Greenville-RockwallTake Interstate 30 West toward Downtown Dallas. Take exit 49B and follow directions to Fair Park.
Dates & Hours
September 27, 2013 - October 20, 2013
Gates open on Friday, September 27, 2013, at 10 a.m. Midway hours and Museum hours vary.
Exhibit buildings open at 10 a.m. daily and close at 9 p.m. Sunday - Thursdays. Buildings remain open until 10 p.m. each Friday and Saturday.
General admission $16, Seniors (60 & over) and children (age 3 to 48" tall) $12, children 2 & under are free. Senior Citizen Day (free admission for those 60 & over) is every Thursday during the Fair.
Parking is available on official Fair lots at $15 per space used. Parking spaces for the disabled require a designated license plate or hangtag. Bicycle racks are located inside Gates 5, 6 and 11. First come, first serve basis while supplies last. Throughout the year, DART offers bike racks at each of the two stations servicing Fair Park (Fair Park at Parry Ave. and Martin Luther King Station).