The race is has begun as concessionaires return to their kitchens in preparation for another Fair food frenzy at the State Fair of Texas. Entries are now being accepted for the 13th Annual Big Tex Choice Awards competition. Building on the success of 2016’s event, the Fair is excited to announce a few enhancements that will be debuting during this year’s competition. The stakes have now been raised with a third category joining the award lineup. Three winners will be crowned in 2017’s ceremony, receiving awards for “Best Taste – Sweet,” “Best Taste – Savory,” and “Most Creative.” With the addition of a third category, the number of available spots in the final round has increased, and the top 10 foods will be selected as finalists. Presented by returning sponsor, Visit Dallas, the main event will be held Sunday, August 27 at 2:00 p.m. in the historic Tower Building in Fair Park.
All concessionaires entering the competition must have a minimum of one year experience as a concessionaire at the State Fair of Texas, which means each contender has earned their right to compete. Eligible contestants must enter an item that falls in one of two categories – Savory or Sweet. They will then face the first round, where an anonymous, internal panel of judges will blindly score each entry based solely on its name and description. To maintain fairness throughout the preliminary rounds, this “blind judging” process ensures that the panel will not know the identity of the applicants. The top 30 entries from round one will then advance to the Semi-Final tasting round. Semi-finalists will be tasted and scored by the internal judging panel based on the following criteria: presentation, taste, and creativity. Each of the criteria categories will receive a score from one to ten, and the 10 highest-scoring entries will receive a coveted spot in the Finals of the Big Tex Choice Awards competition. Headed by a judging panel of local and national celebrities, the 10 finalists will be challenged to prepare a “sample tasting” of their food for both the judges and guests in attendance. Based on the same scoring system from the semi-final round, the entries with the highest rank in the Savory Category and Sweet Category will be selected as the “Best Taste” Winners in those respective categories. The entry with the highest score in creativity will be awarded “Most Creative.”
Widely known as a Fair staple during the annual 24-day run, food also plays a year-round role as part of the Fair’s mission for having a positive community impact. The annual Big Tex Choice Awards competition is more than a quirky contest for promoting Fair food, it serves as a platform for supporting initiatives like the Fair’s Youth Scholarship Program. This year’s event will once again be open to the public as a ticketed fundraiser, with all proceeds from the ceremony donated to the Youth Scholarship fund.