The 2020 State Fair of Texas may be canceled, but Dallas will not lack for State Fair-inspired eats, with pop-ups and special menus galore.
The action kicks off on September 16, when the State Fair of Texas will install Big Tex in a big ceremony. The iconic statue is being erected, even despite the fair's cancellation, for two special drive-through events: a Big Tex photo opp and a fair food drive-thru. You can read all the details about those two events here.
The State Fair is also hosting "at home" activities such as cooking videos and virtual events, listed on their website under "Fair at home."
Here's another batch of places to get your State Fair-style corny dogs, funnel cakes, and more.
If any restaurant seems tailor-made for State Fair commiserating, it would be Ferris Wheeler, given the fact that they have a Ferris wheel on-site. The BBQ restaurant is hosting a State Fair-themed pop-up with their takes on Fair staples, along with their regular menu of smoked meats.
They'll set up vendor-style tents with the following:
- Corny Dogs
- Turkey Legs
- Cotton Candy
- Puffy Tacos
Texas-sized frozen margaritas seasonal craft beers will be available at the bar.
For the second year in a row, they're partnering with State Fair vendor Fernie's Funnel Cakes, who will be on site with funnel cakes and the widely successful burnt end burrito.
They'll also host an appearance by Fletcher's Original Corny Dogs on September 30.
Front Burner Restaurants
Several concepts in the Front Burner Restaurant group – including Haywire, Ida Claire, and The Ranch at Las Colinas – will offer curbside kits that feature original twists on traditional fair foods. These kits are available for curbside pickup, as follows:
- Haywire's Country-Fried Mesquite-Smoked Rib Kit. Feeds four for $65. Includes Texas whiskey barbecue sauce, mac 'n cheese, creamy Napa slaw, cheddar jalapeño sausage, and cornbread. Oreo Fried Pies – Oreo icing filling and crushed Oreo cookies – can be added on for $5 each.
- Ida Claire’s Southern Fare Kit. Feeds four for $40. Includes Andouille sausage corn dogs, grilled corn, beignets, and red beans and rice. Add peach cobbler waffle cones with bourbon buttercream for $5.
- The Ranch at Las Colinas’ Country-Fried Mesquite-Smoked Rib Kit. Feeds four for $65. Includes Texas whiskey barbecue sauce, mac 'n cheese, creamy Napa slaw, grilled cheddar jalapeño sausage and, cornbread. Add an Oreo Fried Pie for $5.
Plano food hall has Fair-inspired items available at two of its food stalls:
- Son of a Butcher will offer a funnel cake milkshake.
- Brisket Love will have smoked turkey legs.
Duncanville gastropub has launched a limited-time menu inspired by Fair food.
They've taken inspiration from carnival food to bring a series of favorites to Duncanville until mid-October, including delicacies such as smoked turkey legs, although they'll still serve their regular menu of burgers and craft beer.
The special menu includes both snacks and cocktails as follows:
- smoked turkey leg
- corn pups – 10 mini corn dogs
- chicks n' a cone – popcorn chicken and bacon, with maple syrup drizzled in a waffle cup
- fish on chips – beer-battered cod on waffle hash browns with boom boom sauce
- churro funnel cake – cinnamon & sugar with caramel drizzle
- don michelada
- caramel apple shot
Uptown Dallas hangout is hosting a pop up from September 23-October 18 with foods, contests, games, and live music.
It'll launch on September 23 with a contest-style tasting starring Dallas influencers, ooooh, emceed by Rustic owner Kyle Noonan and TV personality Courtney Kerr.
The special menu includes:
- Fried Brisket Mac & Cheese with ranch
- Wood-Grilled Hot Cheetos Dusted Elote
- Fried Pecan Turtle with Bourbon Whipped Cream
- Lone Star Draft served in It’s Not Fair Stadium Cup
Fletcher's Original Corny Dogs will make three appearances, from 3-8 pm on September 23, October 1, and October 8.
Throughout the pop-up, fans who come dressed up will be entered into a costume contest with a chance to win a $50 gift card. Every Friday at 9:15 pm, the night's headlining artist will pick and announce the lucky winners.
The Rustic will also have "various animals" on its front yard for socially distanced photo opportunities. Exploiting animals by using them as props for our shallow selfies, there's an idea.
State Fair of Texas online awards
The State Fair of Texas is doing an online Big Tex Choice Awards bracket thing, in which you can vote for your favorite prior winner on BigTex.com/Madness. The First Round began September 15 and the whole thing ends on October 12.