DALLAS, TEXAS – October 20, 2014 – That’s a wrap, folks! It’s hard to believe, but the 2014 State Fair of Texas® is coming to a close after a 24-day run – and a memorable one at that. This year’s Fair was one for the books, proving to be a record-breaking season not only in terms of numbers, but in overall performance across the board. Ranking as the most successful Fair in the event’s 128-year history, the 2014 State Fair of Texas generated an off-the-charts turnout with $42,004,540 in coupon sales for food and rides. The previous record of $37.3 million was set in 2010.
Since its humble beginnings in 1886, the State Fair of Texas has served not only as an annual celebration, but as a unique destination where Texans come together, spend time with friends and family and create lifelong memories. Year after year 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®. To emphasize the sense of Texas pride one feels instantly upon stepping into beautiful Fair Park, the 2014 State Fair was themed “Deep in the Heart of Texans.” With record-breaking numbers and an all-around positive impact on the community, the 2014 season has been a successful one to say the least.
Bringing the traditional lineup of food, festivities and family fun, the 2014 State Fair also threw a few new additions into the mix. The “Texas Sports Legends” exhibit gave fairgoers the chance to see a special selection of memorabilia from the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, showcased in the Hall of State. Devoted football fans filled the stands at the annual blowout games played in Cotton Bowl Stadium; Grambling State University versus Prairie View A&M University in the Southwest Airlines State Fair Classic and the University of Texas against the University of Oklahoma in the AT&T Red River Showdown. The all-new Wild West Pet Palooza brought big crowds with its all-star cast of critters performing comical acts in the historic Fair Park Band Shell. Kiddos were all-smiles on the Kids’ Boardwalk, a colorful new addition featuring a variety of free shows, games and activities. With 24 days of live music, rides, games, shows and exhibits, the 2014 State Fair of Texas offered something for everyone.
As part of the State Fair’s initiative to provide fairgoers with a wide variety of free activities, the annual event features daily concerts on the Chevy Main Stage, included in the price of admission. With an array of musical talent lined up this year, the Chevy Main Stage was a hot spot throughout the run of the Fair. All the headliners appeared to bring record crowds to the outdoor music venue, with the largest attendance at Fantasia, Becky G, the Casey Donahew Band and La Maquinaria Norteña.
As part of its mission to give back to the community, the State Fair offered a variety of discounts for fairgoers throughout the length of the Fair. Working alongside Kroger and the North Texas Food Bank, the State Fair participated in “It’s a Fair Deal” Wednesdays, offering fairgoers $3 admission for bringing three cans of food on any Wednesday of the Fair. Through these weekly specials, along with the Coca-Cola promotion on Opening Day and the canned food drive held on Ag Awareness Day, the State Fair set another record with a grand total of 242,001 pounds of food – all of which will be donated to the North Texas Food Bank. Thanks to fairgoers who participated in these community efforts, this year’s total was an 18% increase from last year’s number.
“The success of this year’s State Fair of Texas is a testament to the entire State Fair team, full-time and seasonal employees, as well as all of our partners who work so hard to make this the best State Fair in the country,” notes Mitchell Glieber, president of the State Fair of Texas.
Adding an additional feature of community involvement this year, the State Fair partnered with Canstruction®, a unique charity that hosts competitions showcasing colossal structures made entirely of full cans of food. Through its partnership with Canstruction, the State Fair collected a total of 159,213 cans, all of which will be donated to the North Texas Food Bank and Tarrant Area Food Bank.
With records broken across various categories, along with a few “firsts” that put new records in place for the future, 2014 has been a whirlwind year. The number of Creative Arts contest entries increased 16% from last year, with a total of 9,309 entries. The Livestock department expanded its territory with a 12% increase in exhibitors since 2013. The Chevy Ride & Drive set a new record with more than 50,000 test drives. For the first time in Fair history, one of the Big Tex Choice Award winners sold out completely before the end of the Fair; the Original State Fair Brew – Funnel Cake Ale, winner of Most Creative at the 2014 Big Tex Choice Awards. For the second year in a row III Forks® Steakhouse joined hands with the Big Tex Champion Club to place the highest bid on the prize-winning animal at the 2014 Youth Livestock Auction; a record-setting $112,000. This year also marked a first for the State Fair of Texas staff – full-time employees pitched in to bid on an animal in the Youth Livestock Auction for the first time in the event’s history. Another record was set by DFW Rescue Me, a local canine rescue organization that worked to find loving homes for 74 dogs through their adoption booth at the State Fair.
Established in 1992, the State Fair of Texas Youth Scholarship Program awards multiple college scholarships to selected applicants each year. Eligible scholarship recipients include graduating high school seniors from five Dallas Independent School District high schools in the Fair Park area – Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, James Madison, Lincoln, North Dallas and Woodrow Wilson High Schools, as well as graduating Texas high school seniors who have participated in Youth Livestock competitive events held at the State Fair of Texas. The scholarship fund is a culmination of hard work and generous donations made at events held throughout the year, including the Sporting Clay Shoot, the Big Tex Golf Tournament, Fair Park Fourth, the Big Tex Choice Awards, the Big Tex Champion Club Dinner and the Youth Livestock Auction. Through these fundraising events, the State Fair has raised more than $622,000 in scholarship donations this year, a $280,000 increase from last year.
This year’s Fair was certainly one for the books, bringing fairgoers from across the nation to celebrate the great Lone Star state and all it has to offer. Concluding his first year as State Fair president, Mitchell Glieber comments, “We’re proud to be the destination where Texans have come together for 128 years to celebrate, and we’re grateful for their tremendous support this year. Thanks to their support, the State Fair will be able to further our goals of giving back by investing in our Fair Park home, and strengthening our commitment to agriculture, education, and community involvement.”
The State Fair of Texas aims to celebrate all things Texan by promoting agriculture, education and community involvement through quality entertainment in a family-friendly environment. As the largest state fair in the nation, the State Fair of Texas continues to evolve, yet stays true to its original purpose. With these five pillars as its foundation, the State Fair strives to preserve the traditions upon which it was built, while also moving forward and working towards a successful future. The 2015 State Fair of Texas will open on Friday, September 25 and run through Sunday, October 18.
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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 non-profit organization with all 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 2015 exposition runs September 25 through October 18 in Fair Park. Visit BigTex.com for more information.