Rounding out the 2018 State Fair of Texas, this year was one to remember. For the 132nd year, the annual event brought people from all walks of life together – from iconic State Fair traditions, to new innovative additions, fairgoers alike enjoyed their visit to the State Fair. As an annual celebration of all things Texan, the tradition continued with the Fair’s 2018 theme, “Celebrating Texas Innovation.” Despite the 12 rainy days experienced during the Fair’s 24-day run, the State Fair of Texas welcomed more than 2 million people through the gates (at the time of this release).
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Fair aims to support the community, both locally and statewide. The net proceeds from the Fair are used to preserve and improve Fair Park; underwrite museum, community, and scholarship programs for inner-city students and students pursuing agricultural careers; and help improve State Fair operations. A successful 24-day run for the Fair means more support for Fair Park and the surrounding community.
“While we couldn’t control the weather, we were thrilled to see family and friends come out to experience the great State Fair of Texas and create lifelong memories – rain or shine,” said Mitchell Glieber, State Fair of Texas President. “As the 2018 exhibition comes to a close, we thank everyone who helped make this another successful event, enabling us to give back to Fair Park, the surrounding communities, and award college scholarships to students from throughout the Lone Star State.”
Serving as our largest fundraiser of the year, the 2018 State Fair of Texas proved to make a difference in more ways than we can count. Below are just a few of the noteworthy successes from this year’s exhibition:
- At the time of this release, the Fair welcomed more than 2 million fairgoers through the gates
- Military Appreciation Day provided free admission for more than 11,400 members of the military and their families
- More than 4,500 first responders and their families visited the Fair for free on First Responder’s Day
- More than 200,000 dots were used on this year’s VisitDallas map in Big Tex Circle for fairgoers to proudly showcase where they are from. Dots were scattered across all 50 United States of America and 183 of 195 countries from around the world were represented with at least one dot
- With 9,600 students competing, the Fair’s livestock and agricultural events hosted a record total of more than 16,000 livestock entries – a 23 percent increase from the 2017 Fair
- On Friday, October 5 the annual Youth Livestock Auction raised a record of more than $1.3 million for youth livestock exhibitors
- The Grand Champion Market Steer of the Youth Livestock Auction was sold to Landmark Nurseries with Paula & Jim Prewitt and the Big Tex Champion Club for a record high of $150,000
- Ag Awareness Day gathered more than 7,500 students and leaders representing 165 chapters of 4-H, FFA, and FCCLA to participate in the canned food drive, donating more than 27,000 pounds of food to the North Texas Food Bank
- Several community events were held throughout the 24-day run, the largest being a Community Engagement Day luncheon with approximately 200 in attendance
- The Fair hosted the Inaugural Juanita Craft Humanitarian Awards, awarding three individuals following in Mrs. Craft’s footsteps, making a positive impact in their community and in civil rights efforts
- So far in 2018, the Big Tex Urban Farms has donated more than 10,200 pounds of fresh produce, including 18,867 lettuce heads and live basil plants from the farm’s new hydroponic grow tank and 402 eggs. This equates to 128,486 servings of fresh produce donated to the South Dallas/Fair Park community
- Sensory-Friendly Mornings were introduced for all three Wednesdays of the Fair – reducing noise and lights across the grounds to accommodate those with sensory-related concerns
- Community members got crafty with nearly 10,000 entries in the Fair’s Creative Arts competitions. With more than 4,000 contestants, 86 newcomers tried their hand in entering Creative Arts competitions – a 20 percent increase from last year
- More than 64,000 kids enjoyed the farm-to-market activity, Little Hands on the Farm, at the all-new Home on the Range exhibit inside the Coliseum
- The Hall of State welcomed more than 125,000 fairgoers through the doors to showcase its featured exhibits, Celebrating Texas Innovation and Dallas in the Time of MLK
- The Cotton Bowl welcomed more than 157,000 college football fans for the State Fair Classic, Red River Showdown, and State Fair Showdown games
- Free concerts were once again held on the Chevrolet Main Stage, with Ludacris, Morris Day and The Time, Hunter Hayes, and Casting Crowns drawing the largest crowds
- Fifty-three events were hosted at the Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center throughout the Fair’s 24-day run
- In 2018, the Fair awarded nearly $1.4 million in new college scholarships to 229 graduating seniors throughout the Lone Star State
- With college applications right around the corner, the Fair encourages eligible high school seniors to go online to com/scholarship and apply now for a 2019 State Fair of Texas college scholarship
- As one of its new initiatives, the State Fair of Texas has partnered with Goodwill Industries of Dallas, Inc. to host the Third Annual Big Tex Job Fair on Friday, October 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center. More than 35 local companies will be taking applications and interviewing for employment positions across a broad range of skill sets. A list of participating organizations and additional details can be found at com/JobFair.
A Texas-sized thank you to each person who came out to celebrate all things Texan during the 2018 State Fair of Texas. The 2019 State Fair will run from Friday, September 27 through Sunday, October 20 in Fair Park. Big Tex and everyone at the Fair will be eagerly waiting to welcome y’all back next year!