Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dallas/Fort Worth

Here we are in the Great State of Texas where, according to native Texans, everything is bigger.  So to see if this is true we went to the State Fair of Texas, which according to the hype is the biggest state fair in the country.  We took the train into Dallas and transferred to the trolley for a stress free ride to the fair.  We decided to go on Thursday as it was senior day, so we got to bypass the $15 admission and got in for free.  So saving $30 is pretty big.  To purchase just about everything at the fair you have to purchase tickets and then redeem them with the vendor of your choice.  We used the $30 we saved and spent it on tickets.  Being senior day the movement around the fair was pretty slow, with the exception of those in their motorized chairs.  Lots of big excitement dodging them folks.

This is Big Tex, who greets you at the fair.  He speaks, but I couldn't understand what he was saying, perhaps it's his accent.  You know how those Texans talk.  He is big though.

They've got an Aremotor Windmill at the fair, but it's no bigger than the one in my front yard.  Nice paint job though.

There are some pretty big rides at the fair.  I can't ride most of them because the of the centrifugal force.  On a ride where everything in your stomach is pushed down as it goes around and at the end of the ride it's the big heave-oh, if you get my drift.  They claim that the Farris wheel at the fair is the biggest in the country.  We bypassed the rides.

There is a big presence of the Dallas Police at the fair.  Many are posted in theses elevated boxes.


Food is really big at the fair.  In fact there are more places to buy food at the Texas State Fair than in the greater Dallas - Fort Worth area.  They have the biggest offering of fried items.  Besides the normal French fries and fried chicken, there is fried bubble gum, cookie dough, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Snicker Bars, smores, beer, wine, margaritas, coke, pralines, latte, ice cream, banana splits, chicken fried bacon, butter, peaches and cream, Frito pie, pumpkin pie, pineapple upside down cake, salsa and Han's Fired Kraut Ball.  So Texas is biggest in the fried food category and in the accompanying clogged artery category.  Tried the deep fried cookie dough.  Hard to get it down because it's so rich.  Did leave a big lump in my belly.

Actually we weren't very impressed with the fair.  A big area for the car show, which was just a bunch of new cars from various manufactures.  A pretty big area for vendors selling pots and pan and the like.  We didn't hit the animal area because of the big smell.  There was no industrial arts, photographs, and crafts which at the Del Mar Fair are judged and awarded ribbons.  The Cotton Bowl is on the fair grounds which takes up a pretty big area.  All in all a pretty big disappointment.

The next day we went to the Fort Worth Stockyards where we saw some big cows with big horns.  For the drovers heading longhorn cattle up the Chisholm Trail to the railheads, Fort Worth was the last major stop for rest and supplies. Beyond Fort Worth they would have to deal with crossing the Red River into Indian Territory. Between 1866 and 1890 more than four million head of cattle were trailed through Fort Worth which was soon known as “Cowtown” and had its own disreputable entertainment district several blocks south of the Courthouse area that was known all over the West as Hell’s Half Acre.

We arrived in time to watch the cattle drive which occurs twice a day.  We happened to be there when they were having a Cowboy Gathering.  We watched as 20 chuckwagons were paraded down the street.  They then set up in front of the Live Stock Exchange for their annual cookoff.  All the food will be prepared over wood fires and in cast iron dutch ovens.


In the evening we met friends Nick and Dianna at Uncle Bucks Steakhouse and Brewery in Grapevine for dinner.  Uncle Buck is connected to Outdoor World part of the Bass Pro Shop Chain of really big sporting goods store.  Of course the've got stores all over the states, not just in Texas.  We had a great dinner and visit, catching up on the latest goings on in both our families.

Next up on this adventure will continue in Texas.  We're heading south to Corpus Christi and Padre Island, which I understand has a really big beach.

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