Big Tex – he’s the first thing Texans think of when we think about the State Fair. Standing 55-feet tall, NPR refers to Big Tex as “big and bold as the great state of Texas itself.”
Known for his height, wit and friendly wave, Big Tex has welcomed visitors at the Fair for more than 60 years. Following a tragic electrical fire in 2012, Big Tex returned to the Fair the following year, recovered and renewed.
With more than half a century of history, Texans have many memories of this talking icon, and most are as loyal to Big Tex as they are to the Lone Star State. The reasons he’s loved are vast, but today we’ve brought you our top eight.
1. He’s timeless
From his fair debut in 1952 when he had yet to find his voice, to today’s rebuilt, lively and talking Big Tex who welcomes all Fair visitors with his famous greeting, “Howdy, Folks!” Big Tex has stood the test of time. Serving as the State Fair’s beloved icon for decades, he is forever ingrained in the memories of thousands of fairgoers.
2. His hat and boots
Everything is bigger in Texas, and nothing screams Texas more than a cowboy hat and boots. Wearing size 96 boots and likely one of the largest cowboy hats in the world, Big Tex epitomizes Lone Star culture.
3. He gets a lot of “likes”
Let’s face it. Everyone wants a great looking Instagram or Facebook profile filled with exciting photos and adventures. Who better than Big Tex, the friendly symbol of the State Fair, to add to your photos? He’s always smiling, always supporting his state and, of course, always looking great.
4. He loves the holidays
Did you know Santa Claus is a Texan, too? Well, at least this one is. Originally an advertising effort for downtown Kerens, Texas, Big Tex spent several years as Santa Claus before taking a job with the State Fair. We think it may have been the itchy beard that led to his career change, but this famous Texan is still enthusiastic about the holiday season and his “birthplace.” He even made a brief return to his hometown in 1981 to celebrate its 100th birthday.
5. He makes memories
From being the subject of well-known stories that have encouraged young couples to solidify their relationships, to serving as an annual photo tradition for friends and family, Big Tex has always been there for fairgoers. Helping fellow Texans and visitors feel welcome, his clever interjections and booming voice are simply unforgettable.
6. He’s resilient
Despite his tragic destruction from an electrical fire in 2012, Big Tex was back home and better than ever for opening day of the 2013 State Fair of Texas.
7. He buys locally
Supporting the local economy, Big Tex purchases his custom-made clothing from Fort Worth’s own Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co. His outfit is sewn in the original Dickies plant that first opened in 1922.
8. He’s a worldwide celebrity
Always bringing Texas a great name, our famous friend has appeared in local, regional, national and international news coverage. In 2014, Big Tex was voted “Quirkiest Landmark in America” by USA Today and 10Best.