The tallest Texan in the state, Big Tex took his traditional spot at the north end of the Midway, as the 2017 State Fair of Texas gets closer to its opening day, Friday, September 29. Paul Moseley pmoseley@star-telegram.com
The tallest Texan in the state, Big Tex took his traditional spot at the north end of the Midway, as the 2017 State Fair of Texas gets closer to its opening day, Friday, September 29. Paul Moseley pmoseley@star-telegram.com

Things to Do

What’s new at the State Fair of Texas this year

By Courtney Ortega

cortega@star-telegram.com

September 26, 2017 09:44 AM

UPDATED September 28, 2017 11:55 AM

The State Fair of Texas is back in town Sept. 29-Oct. 22, and this year fairgoers have several new additions to look forward to.

It’s no surprise, food is once again the center of attention. More than 30 new food items will be introduced at this year’s fair, ranging from the delicious (Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger) to the slightly strange (The Tamale Donut).

Visitors to the fair also can expect more entertainment options in the form of free exhibits and shows.

If you plan on heading out to Fair Park in the next few weeks, here’s a rundown of new things to check out.

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Food, food and more food

It wouldn’t be the State Fair of Texas without food, and this year’s lineup of new offerings has something for everyone.

Big Texas Award winners and finalists

If you want to sample the most buzzworthy new foods at the fair this year, look no further than the Big Tex Award winners and finalists. Among the 10 food and drink items, the Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger (awarded Best Taste-Savory and Most Creative) and the Gulf Coast Fish Bowl (awarded Best Taste Sweet).

Stiffler’s Mom’s Cookie Factory

What’s better than a warm chocolate chip cookie and milk? A bucket of warm chocolate chip cookies and milk. Stiffler’s Mom’s Cookie Factory (which takes its name from the 1999 cult classic “American Pie”) will set up shop in the midway and have two observation windows to watch the baking process as the factory pumps out 800 cookies every 11 minutes. Fairgoers watching their figures need not worry. In addition to buckets, Stiffler’s also will be selling its chocolate chip cookies in 6-ounce bags.

Oreo Beer

Speaking of cookies, now you can simultaneously indulge both your inner child and your adult taste buds with a pint of Oreo Beer. The beer, which is available at Barrera’s, is an American milk stout with an Oreo cookie floating on top served in a cup rimmed with Oreo cream filling and chocolate Oreo bits.

Deep Fried Slovacek’s Garlic Pepper Jack Sausage Wrapped with Bacon on a Stick

October is Czech Heritage Month in Texas and what better way to celebrate than with the Deep Fried Slovacek’s Garlic Pepper Jack Sausage Wrapped with Bacon on a Stick at Darn Good Corn. Slovacek’s, a popular stop in West, Texas, is the largest producer of Czech sausage in the Lone Star State.

Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center

For the first time since 1993, Fair Park has added a brand new facility, with the 55,000-square-foot Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center. Open for use throughout the year, the multipurpose facility is designed to host shows, meetings, events, and conventions, as well as livestock and agriculture activities during the fair.

The Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center also will be the new site of the “I Spy Texas” exhibit. The interactive exhibit, which debuted last year, takes visitors on a road trip through each region of the Lone Star State to learn about the natural resources and wildlife native to each area.

World War I exhibits

In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the United State’s entry into World War I, the State Fair of Texas will host two free commemorative exhibits this year. Housed in the Hall of State, the “Texas in the First World War” exhibit focuses on the roles that Texas and the United States played during World War I and includes a collection of wartime memorabilia and vehicles.

“America and World War I,” which takes place at the D.A.R. House, features a curated selection of original artifacts (ranging from personal items to weaponry) gathered from all participating nations during the Great War.

World of Magic

It may be fall in Texas, but you wouldn’t always know it based on the temperature.

For those seeking shelter from the sweltering heat, check out the all-new World of Magic at Oak Farms Showplace Theatre in the Creative Arts building. The free magic show takes place multiple times each day and features a performance by award-winning illusionists and a floating robot.

Ikebana exhibit at Texas Discovery Gardens

If you love ornate floral arrangements, you’ll want to make sure and stop by the Texas Discovery Gardens. This year, the garden will be hosting an Ikebana exhibit from the Ikebana International Dallas Chapter. Ikebana is the Japanese art of arranging flowers.