The 2013 version of the State Fair of Texas opened on September 27 with an extra dose of excitement surrounding the unveiling of the new Big Tex. On the ground, crowds lined up in front of the statue taking photos. In the sky, a stream of helicopters and low-flying planes circled overhead, puncturing the air of festivity with their edgy mechanical hum.
But we were there on a different mission: to check out the eight finalists for the Big Tex Choice Awards. We got to try the chicken-fried meatloaf, fried spinach dip bites, fried Thanksgiving dinner, fried King Ranch casserole, fried Cuban roll and fried Nutella.
It being the first day, two finalists – Texas fireball and fried millionaire pie – were unavailable due to technical difficulties with vendors. But honestly, six was plenty.
Some observations from the day:
While some vendors featured their finalist entries prominently, others did not. The Texas fireball and spinach bites were especially hard to find. (Both are in the food court building.)
The price for six items added up to $45. The most expensive were the millionaire pie, at $7, and the fried meatloaf with potatoes at $7.50. Most were $6.
The fair's free guide thoughtfully included a list of the eight finalists and a corresponding map. But reading that map might be a challenge for anyone who doesn't already know the fairgrounds.
- The two favorites were fried Thanksgiving pie and fried King Ranch casserole.
Check out the video above to see photos, close-ups, details and the full 411 from CultureMap Dallas reporter and intrepid foodie Diana Oates, who courageously ate her way through all the fried foods she could.