Fall in Dallas means only two things: football and the Texas State Fair. The latter is a more than century old tradition that started in 1886 and has taken place in historic Fair Park since. The fair runs for four weeks beginning on the last week of September through the third week of October. The highlight of the fair usually occurs around the third Saturday when the annual Red River Rivalry is played between the Universities of Texas and Oklahoma. Students and alumni drive midway to Dallas to become a part of this longstanding college rivalry. But this year’s football wasn’t the only highlight at the Texas State Fair 2014. This year’s food finalists had some of the most talked about combinations and this year was also the debut of the new Big Tex, the fair’s most famous icon.
The Beloved Cowboy of the Texas State Fair 2014
The original Big Tex’s had an untimely demise last year when it accidentally caught fire due to faulty wiring. The beloved icon that stood in the middle of the fairgrounds for over 40 years even had a funeral! This year, the symbol of the Texas State Fair 2014 debuted his new look and outfit. He maintained his staple Dickies shirt, Wrangler jeans, and traditional cowboy boots. The verdict is mixed, however. Some liked the more colorful boots and the voice accompaniment but long-time fair enthusiasts disapprove. Below is a snapshot of the Texas State Fair 2014 most famous cowboy. You be your own judge.
Fried Food Capital of Texas
Mention the words Texas State Fair 2014 and fried food immediately comes to mind. No other state fair lives up to the reputation for heart attack inducing delicacies. From fried butter to fried coke, fair goers have seen it all. These were this year’s finalists. Let us see how they fared…
Most Creative Winner
Do you crave the taste of funnel cake in the form of an adult beverage? Strange as it sounds, this year’s most creative winner was one of the most popular items on the food list. Funnel Cake Ale is a light and airy English style ale infused with funnel cake flavors. The result was a subtle, yet refreshing beverage that suits a perfect autumn day on the fair grounds. Its popularity this year will likely make this a staple for many years to come.
Chicken Fried Loaded Baked Potato was the least favorite of all the finalists. Though it had much potential with the perfect proportions of creamy potatoes, cheese, butter, and bacon fried to perfection, the mixture of flavors did not produce anything out of the ordinary. Perhaps it was missing chives and a drizzle of sour cream.
Deep Fried Breakfast for Dinner was all your favorite breakfast items rolled into one large tortilla then deep fried into golden brown perfection. Scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, bacon, potatoes, cheese, onions, ham, and cinnamon rolls made up its contents. This one fared ok. Too many flavors were mixed into one that none of them really stood out.
Any visitor to Texas will surely want to try something chicken fried, barbecue, and Tex-Mex so Christi Erpillo decided on creating such delicacy in a Twisted Texas Taco. It was made up of a slice of fried barbecue beef brisket, fried okra, Mexican cheese blend, and coleslaw. To top it off, the meal was served with country gravy and a side of spicy Texas chili. This monster taco was quite popular with this year’s fair crowd and will probably continue to be a hit item in future years.
Sweet Tooth Favorites
There was the Deep Fried Texas Bluebonnet, an indulgent dessert made up of a blueberry muffin stuffed with white chocolate and cream cheese, fried, and then topped with more blueberries and white chocolate morsels and then there was the Fried Sweet Texas, a combination of peach cobbler, pecan pie, and buttermilk pie, fried into one giant pie and then served with Texas’ own Blue Bell vanilla ice cream. Texans normally prefer pie than cake of any kind, which is why it wasn’t too much a surprise that the crowd at this year’s fair preferred the latter. Fried Sweet Texas provided just enough sweetness and crunch. Besides, anything served with ice cream is a guaranteed hit!
And the Big Tex Competition 2014 Winner Is…
The winner of the Texas State Fair 2014 Big Tex Competition went to a delightful bite-size ball made up of lemony shrimp, potatoes, and onions covered in fish fry then deep-fried. The result was a burst of flavors that did not even need the accompanying remoulade sauce. Unlike the majority of it competitors, this one was smaller in size and the only one without meat in it. I expect the Fried Shrimp Gulf Boil to continue to be a popular dish for many years.
If you’re going next year, make sure you book ahead as the hotels in Dallas get booked out easily!