Since its establishment 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. As a non-profit organization, the Fair serves as an advocate for the community through its commitment to preserving Fair Park and continuing to build upon its legacy as a National Historic Landmark. At 24 consecutive days, the State Fair of Texas is the longest-running fair in the nation, as well as one of the largest. As shown by its tremendous growth, the Fair is able to continuously evolve while staying true to its original purpose. Through its rich and lengthy history, it remains evident that the State Fair serves not only as an annual celebration, but as a unique destination that brings people together and allows them to create lifelong memories.
As a celebration of Texas heritage, the State Fair aims to embody all aspects of Lone Star culture. Although much has changed since its humble beginnings as a local fair and exposition, the State Fair of Texas still embraces its historical roots and strives to preserve the traditions upon which it was built. After serving as the State Fair’s home for a whole century, Fair Park was officially designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986 because of its historical significance. With 130 years of shared history, the State Fair has maintained a deep-rooted connection to Fair Park and continues to call it home. From its longtime devotion to Fair Park, to its lasting dedication to fairgoers, the State Fair considers tradition an essential component of its organization. Year after year millions of visitors come from far and wide to experience the event, holding a special place in their hearts for the State Fair of Texas and its beloved icon, Big Tex.
Agriculture serves not only as a pillar of this organization, but as a fundamental feature of the Lone Star state and its history. The State Fair of Texas offers a variety of interactive exhibits focusing on agriculture and livestock, implementing hands-on activities that are both enjoyable and informative. Activities range from feeding furry friends at the petting zoo, to learning about different livestock species during daily guided tours of the barns. Little Hands on the Farm lets kids enjoy a “day on the farm” while teaching them how food gets from farm to table. Each year approximately 5,200 students from around the state work diligently in preparation for the competitive livestock events and leadership contests at the State Fair. As the largest of these events, the annual Youth Livestock Auction celebrates the agricultural heritage of our great state, while also providing scholarships and prizes to students throughout Texas. Through the Youth Livestock Auction and Scholarship Program, the Fair has awarded more than $23 million in auction awards and scholarships.
Home to the world’s largest collection of Art-Deco structures, Fair Park houses some of Dallas’ top museums and cultural centers. By providing fairgoers with a wide variety of educational exhibits throughout the grounds, the State Fair of Texas is also supporting the individual missions of its fellow Fair Park establishments. With a focus on educating visitors about Texas history and agriculture, the Fair offers a unique experience that is both informative and entertaining. From stingray feedings at the Children’s Aquarium to butterfly releases at the Texas Discovery Gardens, fairgoers have access to a number of science and nature discovery programs right at their fingertips. Each year the State Fair partners with the Dallas Historical Society to create a special exhibit that features different elements of Texas history, displayed in the Hall of State. In addition, fairgoers can learn about Hispanic culture at the Mundo Latino exhibit in the Women’s Museum, or take a tour of the African American Museum, home to one of the largest collections of African American folk art in the country. Through a series of hands-on exhibits and activities, fairgoers get to learn all about agriculture and its impact on the state of Texas, whether it’s the importance of farming and ranching or the process of raising and caring for animals. Experts from the Dallas Police Department share their knowledge on training and working with horses, while livestock professionals demonstrate the proper way to milk a cow. Thanks to the continued support of loyal fairgoers, the State Fair is able to provide a diverse assortment of educational programming for all ages.
As a long standing Dallas institution, the State Fair of Texas has a unique appreciation for the local support that makes such a big event possible every year. With the ultimate goal of having a positive community impact, the Fair aims to give back through its partnerships with charities like Canstruction and the North Texas Food Bank. As part of its mission to contribute on a local level, the Fair currently donates 1.8 million free admission tickets each year to students and teachers at North Texas schools. By providing job opportunities to more than 6,000 seasonal employees every year, the Fair not only brings jobs to the community, but has an estimated annual economic impact of more than $600 million on North Texas. In addition to supporting the DFW metroplex, the State Fair of Texas works to maintain an active role in the community statewide. Through its Youth Scholarship Program, the State Fair awards college scholarships to graduating seniors from five DISD high schools in the Fair Park area, as well as students from around the state of Texas who have competed in State Fair livestock events. Since its establishment in 1992, the Youth Scholarship Program has awarded scholarships to more than 1,800 students for a total of more than $8.7 million. Adding an artistic element to its community initiatives, the Fair hosts more than 1,100 competitions through its Creative Arts department. With categories ranging from art and photography to sewing and cooking, the State Fair gives professionals and amateurs of all ages a multitude of opportunities to showcase their creative skills. By offering affordable entertainment that is both fun and family-friendly, the Fair hopes to bring a one-of-a-kind experience to the community.