By Karla Thornhill Coleman, Auto Show Global
Back in Texas, y’all. It’s been a couple of years since the Auto Show Global team has travelled to the big state of Texas. As natives and visitors alike always say: “Everything’s big in Texas” and the State Fair of Texas and its grand auto show never disappoints. The Media Day starts early tomorrow morning, so look out for the latest in big truck news as we make our way around to the press conferences.
More about the 2016 State Fair of Texas
Celebrating 130 years of tradition, the State Fair of Texas returns this fall for another round of food, festivities and family fun. Themed “Celebrating Texas Agriculture,” the 2016 exposition kicks off on Friday, September 30 in historic Fair Park. Although it seems far away, the State Fair team is already in full Fair mode, prepping and planning for the big event. Before Big Tex makes his annual debut, the State Fair has a few announcements about the latest and greatest attractions lined up for this year’s event.
After a history-making run at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, The Taylor Swift Experience™ is making its way to the Lone Star State with a brand new collection of memorabilia from the superstar’s archive as a featured exhibit at the State Fair of Texas. The famed exhibit takes fans through her journey as a singer, songwriter and global superstar, showcasing memorable performance costumes, tour photos, and instruments. The exhibit also features a special collection of memorabilia that has never been displayed in this unique combination before, such as the light blue Reem Acra gown she wore at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas during the ACM Awards 50th Anniversary. The Fair is thrilled to host this one-of-a-kind exhibit in the historic Hall of State building, with the excitement of providing an attraction that appeals to all ages. Diehard fans are sure to recognize some of Taylor’s trademark wardrobe pieces, from the rhinestone-studded ringmaster ensemble she wore for “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” on The RED Tour, to the custom-beaded outfit she wore at the 2014 American Music Awards when she premiered “Blank Space.” Regardless of age or musical preference, visitors will gain a better understanding of Taylor’s achievements that led her to super-stardom and her impact on the entertainment industry worldwide.
In addition to hosting The Taylor Swift Experience™ at the State Fair of Texas, the Hall of State brings fairgoers a taste of Texas with three other exhibits dedicated to the Lone Star State and its history. “Six Nations over Texas” tells the story of the six countries whose flags have flown over Texas and includes rare artifacts from each nation. Fairgoers can learn all about the American West and its prevalence in Texas culture through the “Ways of the West” exhibit. Guests looking to brush up on their cow herding skills can learn all about the traditional cowboy lifestyle in “Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy.”
The Lords of Gravity Basketball Slam Dunk Show joins the list as one of the Fair’s new daily shows for 2016. Hailing from Budapest, Hungary, the Lords of Gravity group has become one of the most well known acrobatic basketball teams in Europe. Each high-energy show brings jaw-dropping hoop skills and high-ﬂying acrobatics to the court. The talented troupe will be performing daily in Chevrolet Park Plaza. The action continues with Xpogo, another extreme sports show coming to the Fair this fall. Fairgoers can catch this action-packed performance daily, featuring two pogo professionals showing off their skills with gravity-defying tricks, flips and spins. Also joining the 2016 lineup is the Lone Star Stampede, an all-new show hosted in the Pan Am Arena. Guests can watch the tale of the American West come alive through this award-winning performance, featuring quintessential Western themes like stagecoaches, horses, cowboys and bandits. This can’t-miss event showcases traditional Native American dancers, sharpshooters and a Texas Longhorn cattle drive.
As a nod to its agricultural roots, the Fair chose “Celebrating Texas Agriculture” as its 2016 theme. With this year’s theme in mind, the State Fair is implementing more agricultural-related activities around the grounds, in addition to the many exhibits and events that have been around for years. Fairgoers can learn all about Texas agriculture and natural resources at “I Spy Texas,” a new interactive exhibit in the Science Place building. City-dwellers can get a glimpse of life on the farm by attending one of the Fair’s daily Milking Demonstrations, moving to an all-new location in front of the Science Place building. Educational opportunities also include Farm Day at the Fair, a TEKS-based program providing in-class lesson plans focused on the importance of agriculture. With additional days offered this year, teachers have their choice of 15 different dates to schedule a classroom trip to the Fair for their students to learn all about agriculture through hands-on activities at the Science Place. Farm Day at the Fair is open to 3rd and 4th graders in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and includes a learning excursion to the Fair to build upon their in-classroom lessons. The Livestock 101 Stage marks another new agriculture initiative, offering daily presentations from resident livestock experts. Visitors can head to the Livestock 101 Stage at Ag-Power Plaza to learn about the animals being exhibited in the barns that day, then attend a Guided Livestock Tour to get up close and personal with some furry friends.
Football fans have a lot to look forward to this year, with not two but three games scheduled during the 2016 State Fair. Opening weekend of the Fair brings devoted fans from Grambling State University and Prairie View A&M University for the annual Southwest Airlines State Fair Classic on October 1. The rivalry continues on October 8 when the Cotton Bowl Stadium hosts the Red River Showdown, where the University of Texas Longhorns face the University of Oklahoma Sooners. The historic Cotton Bowl Stadium welcomes a new matchup on October 15, when the Air Force Academy takes on the University of New Mexico.
In addition to the traditional State Fair staples, Fair food fanatics can look forward to a few new food locales debuting this year. Trio on the Green brings a new concept of “bites and flights,” serving trios of appetizers and drinks. Located under three oak trees outside the Coliseum, this shady destination will serve everything in threes, from sliders and fries to flights of beer and wine. Fiesta Grande will open next to the Hall of State, offering a selection of both Mexican and domestic beer and assorted snacks at a shaded outdoor location. The cantina-style patio features tables and umbrellas perfect for relaxing, with live acoustic music on weekends.
After launching a fourth through eighth grade curriculum last year, the State Fair is expanding its classroom initiatives to the high school level, with a new curriculum for ninth through twelfth graders. In partnership with Big Thought, the Fair offers a TEKS-aligned program that focuses on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) along with other core disciplines like social studies, English, language arts and visual design. The online curriculum connects classroom learning with student experiences at the Fair, including in-class lesson plans as well as materials and activities for out-of-school time. The new high school lesson plans will be available on BigTex.com/educators for download by September 1, with fourth through eighth grade curriculum guides available now. All teachers are invited to attend a free training seminar on August 27, which will cover all the basics of the curriculum.
Returning for its third year at the State Fair is Canstruction®, a unique exhibition displaying art structures made entirely of canned food items. The exhibit will once again be hosted in the Science Place building, featuring structures that have been created in line with the theme “Celebrating Our Past, Present and Future” which honors the 20th build for Canstruction®. At the end of the competition, all canned food will be donated to the North Texas Food Bank. In addition, the State Fair is continuing its partnership with the North Texas Food Bank to present “It’s A Fair Deal Wednesdays,” offering discounted admission every Wednesday throughout the run of the Fair. Visitors can bring four canned food items and get in for just $4, with all donations going directly to support local families in need. After a successful debut in 2015, the Thrifty Thursdays food discount program will be returning for the 2016 Fair. Through this initiative, participating food vendors are offering one of their signature menu items at a reduced price, ranging from mini versions to regular-size items. Perfect for fairgoers wanting just a tiny taste rather than a full-size meal, or families looking for new ways to save while still getting to enjoy their fair food favorites.
Your trip to the Fair is your ticket to Texas-sized fun – with hundreds of events included in the price of admission, you’ve got an all-access pass to free entertainment. Season Passes are available now at BigTex.com/seasonpass for only $29.95 with promotional code “BigTex10.” This limited-time discount will save you $10, with the regular price set at $39.95. Hurry and get yours today before this promotion ends July 31!
About the State Fair of Texas
Since its inception in 1886, the State Fair of Texas has celebrated all things Texan by promoting agriculture, education, and community involvement through quality entertainment in a family-friendly environment. The State Fair of Texas is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with proceeds helping to preserve and improve Fair Park and underwrite museum, community and scholarship programs for inner city youth and students pursuing agricultural careers. The 2016 exposition runs September 30 through October 23 in Fair Park. Visit BigTex.com for more information.