Big Tex Is Back

State Fair of Texas returns with almost back-to-normal event for 2021

State Fair of Texas returns with almost back-to-normal event for 2021

Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas
Big Tex - and the State Fair of Texas as a whole - will say "Howdy, folks!" again to fairgoers in 2021. Photo by Jason Hays

In one surefire way to tell that life is getting back to a semblance of normal amidst the pandemic, the State Fair of Texas will return in 2021 with its usual 24-day run, from September 24-October 17.

This will include the annual Big Tex Choice Awards celebrating fried foods, plus outdoor concerts, Fletcher's Original Corny Dogs, creative arts contests, and exhibition of cars and trucks at the Texas Auto Show, with details still to come.

The event is back after a one-year hiatus, inflicted due to the COVID-19. A release cautions that this year may look different, since they may be observing measures recommended by the CDC and other agencies.

Season passes are now on sale at, while individual tickets will go on sale on September 9. Prices have gone up across the board, with season passes starting at $50 each (up from $45), and daily tickets ranging from $18-$25, up from the $14-$18 range of 2019.

Fair organizers clung through much of 2020 in the hopes of still holding the annual event despite the pandemic, before they finally pulled the plug in July.

Attempts to keep the spirit alive included a drive-thru offering corny dogs and a Big Tex photo-op, but attendees found it to be expensive and poorly organized, requiring waits of up to five hours in their cars, with some even running out of gas.

Mitchell Glieber, State Fair of Texas president, says in a release that the theme for 2021 will be "Howdy, Folks!" — summoning the catch phrase of their Big Tex mascot.

"None of us could have predicted all that the COVID-19 pandemic would bring with it, but we feel so grateful to carry on the State Fair's 135-year history and welcome everyone back with a warm 'Howdy, Folks!' this year," Glieber says.


UPDATE: Shortly after the announcement of the return of the State Fair, organizers released the names of the musicians who will perform free concerts throughout the three-week run. Headliners will include Clay Walker, Black Pumas, Jack Ingram, and Sugar Ray. Below is the full list of dates and performers.

  • September 24: Clay Walker
  • September 25: Dru Hill (2 pm)
  • September 25: Black Pumas (8:30 pm)
  • September 26: La Energia Norteña
  • September 30: Little Joe & La Familia
  • October 1: Shinyribs
  • October 2: Kevin Fowler
  • October 3: Grand Funk Railroad
  • October 8: Mike and the Moonpies
  • October 9: Jack Ingram (6 pm)
  • October 9: Bill Engvall (8:20 pm)
  • October 10: Sugar Ray
  • October 11: Le Freak
  • October 15: Kraig Parker
  • October 16: Charley Crockett
  • October 17: The Last Bandoleros