Big Tex and a mighty fine "Howdy Folks" awaits fair-goers as they arrive each and every year

Sunday…I took a trip to The Great State Fair of Texas!

What a glorious day it was – breezy, upper 80°, and when you’re one of the first to arrive, parking was easy, convenient, and close to the entrance gate!

Each year the State Fair is an intentional destination. I wouldn’t be completely honest if I said my primary reasoning going is for the Auto Show.

I go for the people watching!

I go for the live entertainment on stage (several venues around the fairgrounds)!

I go for free ice cream cone and the give-away bread sampling at the Dairy/Grain Building!

I go to marvel at the wonderful Art Deco buildings scattered about the fairgrounds!

But mostly, I go for the traditional food of the State Fair as well as each year’s must-have foods!

Fletcher' World Famous Corny Dog

Of course as any regular fairgoer will tell you, you’ve got to sample the one…the only…”F-L-E-T-C-H-E-R-S” corny dogs.

Now I for one don’t particularly care for the stuff, but it is a forever State Fair tradition that MUST be had, consumed, and at least attempted to enjoy.

I’ve found that if you smother enough mustard on it, it’s a whole lot better! And this year, I took 2 small bites off the tip and then peeled all the breading off.

And remember…if the line is long at the Corny Dog stand, there are many other Fletchers stands to find/discover all over the place. The one I had was at the front gate…right when I got to the Fair…the Dog was fresh out of the grease vat… and it was 9:00 in the morning.  Ahhhhh, breakfast of champions! It truly makes your belly hurt the rest of the day (but it’s a “good” hurt).

As I was snarfing down the Corny Dog, I opened up my State Fair Map and Guide – I think it can synomoniously be called “Your Guide To Places Where You Can Expect To Spend The Big Bucks” – to find adventures prior to the Auto Show opening at 10:00.

The Buffalo Chicken was cock-a-doodle-do good!

Dang if I didn’t find a list of the “State Fair Food Finalists”….

So off I go in search of more belly busting culinary delights.

My next stop was the “Buffalo Chicken in Flapjack Batter and Jalapeno Bread Crumbs” – fried of course – with a side of maple syrup. Gang, I’m here to tell ya, that was G-O-O-D!

Not only did I eat the whole thing and DID NOT peel off the batter, but I chewed on the serving stick it comes with…and sucked all the dang juice and flavor out of that!

I went back and spent several minutes with the cooks on this one, telling them how good it was. Keep in mind this was less than 20 minutes after eating the Fletchers…the Buffalo Chicken was not good because I was hungry or anything. It was just dag gum good.

Oh my – I hope they’ve got this again next year!

Moving on, and with the State Fair Guide open to that eatery page, I told myself “that’s enough”. This Fair food was going to do a number on my persevering tonnage-loss efforts for the last 6 months (in fact when I got up Sunday morning and stepped butt-naked on the bathroom scale, I had reached the 80-pounds-where’d-they-go milestone…remember this for the next few minutes of reading).

The Walking Taco

No, Tim, it was not enough! It was “The Walking Taco” that had my interest.

I started my search for the stand….

The State Fair Guide had a key map of the “Finalists” – it was so wrong in pointing me to the vendor location of this, what had to be a tempting Mexican food delight.

After walking up and down the aisles just outside the Midway for 20 minutes, I was about to give up. You see I am a firm believer in fate – somebody of a higher calling was telling me I didn’t need The Walking Taco and had me hopelessly wandering about with drool on the front of my shirt. I was beginning to listen to that voice….

…when someone of an equal hunger of mine for State Fair food walked past me eating what looked to be a taco salad out of a Doritos bag. He walked several steps beyond me before it clicked in the noggin upstairs “hey he’s walking…and eating a taco”. Duh!

I turned around and pardoned myself to the guy. “Excuse me sir, is that T-H-E   W-A-L-K-I-N-G   T-A-C-O-?”

“Why yes it is” he said through a mouthful of his food.

“Where do you get that?”

“Over there”, pointing down the aisle with his fork…the same aisle I had walked down 15 minutes before.

“It’s the same guy that is selling F-R-I-E-D   B-U-B-B-L-E-G-U-M”

Wow! Fried Bubblegum – ahhh, no thanks to that one. But do know y’all, the Fried Butter at the State Fair is really quite tasty.

I found the taco/bubblegum stand and stepped to the counter to order. The nice lady smiled at me and showed me the order list. “What ingredient on this list do you NOT want on your Walking Taco?”

“Ma’am, I’m abusing my waistline today and there is not one single ingredient on your list that I want withheld from my Walking Taco order”.

“OK” she said with a chuckle.

It was fresh, it was good.

Somebody…please get me to the Auto Show. It’s been open now for 90 minutes for crying out loud!

And what did I find when I arrived at the Auto Show buildings? A manly, supreme, all-wonderful tail-gating trailer (and truck – after all, a guy has to have the whole rig, right?) for cooking more food! Where’s OFNi Sarah”s beau Jerry when you need him? He is a champion tail-gater, don’t you know….

The ultimate tail-gater

I did eventually make into the Auto Show. The mission was to check out commuter cars – in particular, Hyundai and Scion 35-40 mpg jobbers. You know what, those cars sit real low to the ground and I was too bloated from the dang Fair food to get in and out the cars! Oh well, I might have just saved myself $22,000 for a new car by spending $15 on State Fair food!

See ya next year Big and Bigger Guy!

As with all things, it’s cyclical.

You come into the State Fair with great expectations, you leave with them as well.

Oh yeah, that Fair food you ask?

It also cost me 3 pounds on the bathroom scale the next morning.

Go to the Fair, dang it! Enjoy the food…and other fair/fare.

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