In 2021, we are celebrating 135 years of the great State Fair of Texas! From a Santa Claus Big Tex to making it through a pandemic, we’ve come a long way and through the 135 years, there’s no way we could do it without YOU! Here are five things you probably did not know, but should know about YOUR great State Fair of Texas!
1.The State Fair of Texas is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization – your ticket to the Fair fuels our mission! The mission of celebrating all things Texan by promoting agriculture, education, and community involvement through quality entertainment in a family-friendly environment. With those three components at the heart of every decision, the State Fair passionately pursues opportunities to expand and build upon its mission all thanks to YOU! By visiting the Fair, you’re helping the community through:
- The Fair’s Big Tex Scholarship Program has awarded nearly $15 million in new college scholarships to students throughout the Lone Star State since its inception in 1992.
- Since 2016, the Fair has donated more than $2.5 million dollars in grants and sponsorships to local organizations, equating to more than 650,000 people served in the South Dallas/Fair Park community.
- Introduced in 2016, the Fair’s Big Tex Urban Farms is an agricultural system comprised of planting beds and hydroponic systems housed in the heart of the State Fair Midway at Fair Park. The Fair has invested more than $1.8 million in the Farms since its inception and 100% of all produce grown at the Farms is donated to local community organizations or initiatives to help feed people in need.
2. The State Fair of Texas has around 50 full-time employees. Some folks have been working for more than 50 years at the Fair! From Sanger to Waxahachie, our employees are from all over the DFW metroplex and strive each day to make a difference in the community and to make the annual State Fair of Texas the best experience for you, your family, and your friends.
3. In 2021, we are celebrating 135 years! That’s right, the State Fair of Texas has been around for more than 135 years, tracing back to its origins as the Dallas State Fair and Exposition in 1886. Fair Park is home to one of the greatest concentrations of early 20th century Art Deco exhibit buildings in the world, built specifically for the Texas Centennial Exposition and World’s Fair of 1936. In 1918, the Fairgrounds served as a training camp used by the U.S. military during WWI. The only times we were unable to host the State Fair of Texas were during the years 1918, 1935-1937, 1942-1945, and 2020.
4. In 1951, the Fair purchased a large Santa Claus figure from Kerens, Texas and commissioned local artist Jack Bridges to make a giant cowboy out of the statue. Big Tex made his first debut at the 1952 State Fair. Fairgoers alike were devastated when he caught fire due to an electrical short in 2012, but made a comeback in 2013, bigger and better than before! Read more about Big Tex here.
5. Each year, a portion of the Fair’s revenue is reinvested in Fair Park, going towards the upkeep and maintenance of our home for the past 135 years. Throughout the years, the State Fair has contributed tens of millions of dollars toward such improvements, in addition to making financial donations to support Fair Park Museum programming. More than $37 million has been distributed for Fair Park and State Fair operations over the past five years. From its longtime devotion to Fair Park to its lasting dedication to fairgoers, the Fair considers tradition an essential component of its organization.