DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The 2015 State Fair of Texas is fast-approaching.
Following a record-breaking 2014 season, the Fair starts its 24-day run with an all-star lineup of food, festivities and family fun. Celebrating 129 years of Lone Star tradition, the 2015 exposition is themed "Passport to Texas" and opens Friday, September 25 in historic Fair Park. Big Tex will be waiting to greet fairgoers with his signature, "Howdy, folks!"
Fair food fanatics will love the newest addition to the Fair's list of daily discount programs - Thrifty Thursdays.
Participating food vendors are offering one of their signature menu items at a reduced price, ranging from mini versions to regular-size items. Featured items include State Fair classics like corny dogs and funnel cakes, plus many more. A current list of participants is available here.
Bringing a feeling of Texas pride to the Pan Am Arena, the new Lone Star Horse Spectacular joins the Fair's collection of crowd-pleasing shows. In this lively production, visitors get the chance to celebrate the rich history of our great state and each of its six flags as they are paraded through the arena. Themed to traditional Texas music, the event features professional riders on horseback, performing in coordination with the historical narrative. The Fair invites you to join Texas native Barry Corbin as he narrates the show, telling the spectacular story of the great Lone Star State!
The Fair says you'll be blown away by the new and improved Mattress Firm Illumination Sensation. Set along a scenic reflecting pool, this nightly celebration has been completely remastered – wowing the crowd with dancing waters and twice the pyro than ever before. A unique and breathtaking event, the show combines fireworks and high-energy pop music with engaging dance performances. This sensational 16-minute production of synchronized pyrotechnics and special effects begins nightly at 8 p.m. along the Esplanade.
Leading up to the after-dark extravaganza, the ZuZu African Acrobats will provide daily performances on the all-new Mattress Firm Stage on the Esplanade. With a new name and new location, these talented performers show off their amazing acrobatic skills and take the limbo to a whole new level.
With a new location this year, Big Tex's Farmyard is back with more activities and learning opportunities. This venue provides an educational experience through interactive exhibits as well as live animal displays, including calves, piglets and hatching chicks. Learn all about agriculture and its impact on the state of Texas, from the importance of farming and ranching to the process of raising and caring for animals.
This kid-friendly attraction is now conveniently located near the Kids' Boardwalk, which made its fair time debut last year. Returning acts like Ronald McDonald and Buford Buzzard join new additions such as an interactive magic show and a comical cowboy puppet, along with games, crafts and face painting.
After its successful run in 2014, Canstruction® will return as one of the Fair's featured exhibits, where all structures will be created in line with this year's State Fair theme, "Passport to Texas."
At the end of the competition, all canned food will be donated to the North Texas and Tarrant Area Food Banks. In addition, the State Fair is once again partnering with Kroger and the North Texas Food Bank to present "It's A Fair Deal Wednesdays," offering discounted admission every Wednesday throughout the run of the Fair.
Visitors can bring four cans of food and get in for just $4, with all donations going directly to support local families in need. The Fair invites you to show your support and participate in this community initiative – don't miss out on this steal of a deal!
In addition to the 85 free concerts on the Chevrolet Main Stage, the Fair is adding more new music to the 2015 lineup.
The Fair's other stages include the Bud Light Sound Stage in Cotton Bowl Plaza and the Dr Pepper Stage located behind the Creative Arts building. For the first time ever, these stages will feature rotating regional acts throughout the length of the Fair. The Tejas Brothers, Jennifer Nickerson and Ali Dee will take on the Bud Light Sound Stage, while The Killdares return to the Dr Pepper Stage, joining State Fair newcomers Chubby Carrier, Coffey Anderson and the Light Crust Dough Boys.
Back by popular demand, the United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps will return for their annual patriotic display. The Corps will begin its Fair performances on September 25, including a special appearance in the Opening Day Ceremony and daily concerts at 4 p.m. in Marine Corps Square. Catch this event while you can – the Marines are only here until October 6! Following their departure, Marine Corps Square will play host to a new attraction, the State Fair of Texas Presents Native America. This special event will include demonstrations of both traditional and contemporary Native American culture through music, dance, art and more. Members of several different Native American nations will be in attendance, representing the unique traditions that are specific to their group. Giving fairgoers a taste of authentic Native American history, the event also includes a full-size teepee available for visitors to view. An expansive celebration of genuine Native American customs, this event is both educational and engaging for the whole family!
Serving as the featured entertainment for the Truck Zone Stage this year, renowned wood-carver Burt Fleming will show off his chainsaw skills by taking blank sections of timber and turning them into works of art. This unconventional artist adds a funky flair to the outdoor Auto Show venue, entertaining fairgoers with his one-of-a-kind creations.
Making its State Fair of Texas debut this year, Beer Haven is touted as the world's largest bar on wheels – a 53-foot-long truck serving a wide variety of craft beers on tap. Throughout the run of the Fair, this mobile brewery will feature 60 different beers on tap every day, including a special collection of fair-themed brews like a cotton candy-flavored ale. Fairgoers get the chance to taste local brews while sitting and relaxing at the picnic tables in this shaded grassy locale. As an added attraction on weekends, this venue features live music and entertainment, including visits from brewers sharing tricks of the trade and performing beer-making demos every Saturday! Lager lovers can take their tasting experience even further by attending a Texas craft beer festival, an all-new event hosted in the historic Cotton Bowl Stadium the final weekend of the Fair. Showcasing both local and international flavors from 70 different Texas breweries, this event is perfect for beer connoisseurs as well as guests who are new to the world of craft beer. Representing their brands, brew masters will also be in attendance, giving fairgoers the chance to talk to the experts and learn more about their unique creations.
Yet another new attraction concluding this year's Fair, the Rooster Crowing Contest will bring spectators to their feet as competitors fight for the highest number of cock-a-doodle-doos! Open to all ages, this competition gives participants a limited period of time to coerce their roosters to crow, with the winning title going to the competitor with the most number of crows. Visitors can check out this farm frenzy on Sunday, October 18 in the Poultry Barn.
Tickets, coupons and Season Passes are available now with special discounted prices offered until August 31.
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