Edible Dallas and Fort Worth’s Guide
to a Greener Trip to the Fair
By Joslyn Taylor
I have a bit of a love affair with the State Fair of Texas. But it’s a passion tempered with great planning. We map our annual visit with the precision of generals going into battle, strategizing weeks in advance of our actual visit. We ponder what attractions we’ll visit, what we’ll ride, what we’ll eat (truth be told, mostly we’re dreaming of what we’ll eat). Those jalapeño cheese-infused Fletcher’s Corny Dogs alone could have me thinking about the fair 24/7 for months.
At its core the State Fair of Texas is a truly local experience. It’s the best of the state’s offerings, its flora and fauna, its resources, agriculture, livestock, craft and community. Get past the teeming midway, and it’s essentially a deep cultural experience, with no greater testament to this than the food. The fried ice cream and fried bacon and fried pickles are iconic (and usually delicious). Such American staples as the aforementioned Fletcher’s Corny Dog were invented in Texas and unveiled at the State Fair in 1942. While not the healthiest of foods, a tremendous amount of thought goes into these creations; talented local chefs put endless hours into scheming up the next fried Dr Pepper-infused Twinkie, and that alone renders it food to be romanced—or at least savored once each year.
But as with any whirlwind romance, there’s the risk of a hard fall, and sampling the cornucopia (no pun intended) of fried fair offerings is a pretty good guarantee of fair food hangover. Our unscientific poll suggests that on a guilt scale of 1–10 (10 being the highest), eating that jalapeño cheese-infused Fletcher’s Corny Dog rates about a 9. At that pace, you can rack up points alarmingly fast. So, we felt it imperative to create a strategy to offset our gastronomic guilt and sleuthed out some of the most virtuous fair experiences. Do them all, and you might even end up ahead of the game. Consider it our gift to you.
The State Fair of Texas runs from September 24 to October 17. For more information: www.bigtex.com
|edible DFW’s picks for a greener visit to the
STATE FAIR OF TEXAS
|Get up-close and personal with some livestock. Check out the Cattle Barn and the Swine Building. Take the kids to the Milking Parlor, the Youth Livestock Auction and the Children’s Barnyard, where experts will be on hand to answer questions.|
|Eschew the fossil fuels and the gridlock and take the Green Line to Fair Park.|
|Walk the mile-long parade route and take in the Fall Garden Exhibition and the historic architecture. Fair Park has the largest collection of art deco exposition buildings in the world.|
|Brush up on your culinary skills at the Celebrity Kitchen (and figure out what to do with all that squash taking over your backyard).|
|Visit the brand-new “Greenhouse on the Midway” and get tips from gardening experts. Brush up on your xeriscaping and get your hands in the dirt with a how-to class.|
|Create budding growers at Little Hands on the Farm and give your kiddos an early start on learning exactly where their food comes from. They can “pretend” to gather eggs, plant and harvest vegetables and care for a cow.|
|Check out the latest high-mileage hybrids and electric vehicles at the State Fair Auto Show.|
|Visit Texas Discovery Gardens, including the native wildlife pond, scent garden, shade garden and heirloom garden—the first public garden in Texas to be certified 100% organic.|
|Ogle the prize-winning local crafts, canning, quilts and photography in the Creative Arts Building. Nearly 7,000 entries will be competing.|
|Cruise around the lagoon on human-powered Swan (paddle) Boats.|
|Grab a glass (or two) of local wine, take in some live jazz (on the weekends) and learn about sustainable grape growing practices at the Texas Wine Garden.|
|Take a ride on the Texas Star, the tallest Ferris wheel in the Southwest, recently fully outfitted with LED lights.|
When JOSLYN TAYLOR’s not doing her day job as the online marketing director for a large technology company, she writes and curates two blogs, “Simple Lovely, ”www.simplelovely.blogspot.com, a lifestyle/design blog, and “Raising Foodies,” www.raisingfoodies.blogspot.com, which chronicles her attempts to get her two young daughters to consume something other than chicken nuggets and Annie’s Mac and Cheese. She is a contributing editor at the social media site, “Kirtsy,” www.kirtsy.com, and has written for Dallas Child Magazine, “Dallas Arts Blog” and Renegade Bus. She lives in Dallas with her daughters Audrey and Amelia (Millie) and her husband Bryan.