State Fair 2018 editorial series
Red River Rivalry

15 things to know before you go to the 2018 Texas-OU game in Dallas

15 things to know before you go to the 2018 Texas-OU game in Dallas

Cotton Bowl stadium UT OU Red River rivalry
Fans will need to get up early to see the big game. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Night owls have been hooting and hollering all week about the crack-of-dawn kickoff time for the 2018 Red River Showdown, otherwise and forever known as the "Texas-OU game" or "OU-Texas," depending on which side of the river you lean.

This year's big game between the University of Texas Longhorns and the University of Oklahoma Sooners starts at 11 am Saturday, October 6. Barely enough time to nurse a Friday-night hangover, tailgate, and grab a State Fair corny dog on the way to the Cotton Bowl.

To help plan for a more efficient and enjoyable morning, State Fair officials have released a list of helpful hints and guidelines for folks heading to the game. All game tickets include admission to the fair, so fans can celebrate or drown their sorrows in a cotton candy taco or two. 

Here's a checklist of what to know before you go:

  • The fair will open early, so plan your travel to the fairgrounds accordingly. DART trains and buses are the most hassle-free way to go, but they will become more crowded as game-time approaches and at locations closer to Fair Park. Official State Fair parking lots and all gates will open at 7 am.
  • State Fair Will Call will open at 6:30 am.
  • Coupon booths and online coupon redemption centers will open at 7 am. Big hint: Purchase coupons ahead of time at and skip the long lines. Pick up your coupons at a hospitality center instead of a coupon booth. For more discounts, head here
  • Hospitality centers and information booths will open at 7 am.
  • Outdoor concessions, including the Tower Building Food Court, will open at 8 am.
  • The State Fair Midway will open at 8 am.
  • ESPN GameDay will air LIVE from 8-10 am at the Classic Corral in the shadow of the Texas Star Ferris Wheel. Fans are urged to arrive early.
  • FOX Sports will air a two-hour edition of FOX College Football Pregame LIVE from 9-11 am in front of the Hall of State on Lone Star Blvd. Fans are urged to arrive early.
  • All exhibit buildings; outdoor exhibits; and indoor concessions (except the Tower Building, which opens earlier) will open at 9 am.
  • Gates to the Cotton Bowl will open at 9 am.
  • Game tickets will be scanned at all Cotton Bowl gates. 
  • The fair has enhanced its metal detection at all pedestrian gates to include walkthrough metal detectors. Fans should read any signage and listen to gate attendants for directions. For a list of items allowed and not allowed at the fair, visit
  • For a list of prohibited items in the Cotton Bowl, visit
  • After the game, fans can stick around for the State Fair of Texas, see the Mattress Firm Illumination Sensation at 8 pm along the Esplanade, and see country music artist Aaron Watson perform on the Chevrolet Main Stage at 8:30 pm.
  • For a full schedule of events, visit