On Friday 9/6/19 we heard for State Fair of Texas president Mitchell Gleiber. Mr. Gleiber reminded all that the 2019 version of the fair will open on Friday September 27 and run for 24 days.
The Fair organization is a non-profit that is focused on Agriculture, Education and Community. (Chris Brown was a trivia winner for knowing that the fair is a non-profit entity.) Proceeds are re-invested in the Fair Park infrastructure and the surrounding community. In the past four years the Fair has invested $45.5 million in the Fair Park area. The Fair Park area covers 277 acres.
Big Tex has long served as the focal point of the fair’s identity. The origin of Big Tex traces back to Kearns, Texas in 1950 when a few leaders of the State Fair bought a Santa Clause figure from an auto dealer and converted him from Kris Kringle to Bob Johnston (I mean Big Tex). Over the years some improvements were made to the look of Big Tex so that it is more natural in movement and look. In October 2012 Big Tex must have told a whopper of a lie because his pants (and everything else) was on fire! It was a tragic moment in the history of the fair and Big Tex. Many laid corny dogs at the feet of burning man Big Tex.
The annual Fair event does not require any tax dollars for putting on the three-week run. Through gate receipts, food sales, sponsorships and exhibitor fees the fair is able to cover the full cost of the event including 100% of the cost for DPD to provide security. The Fair employs 52 full-time year-round staff and has upwards of 7,000 employees during the fair itself. The fair is a big economic engine. The estimate for overall impact to the Dallas economy is $410-499 million. 22.8% of the annual attendance comes from outside of the state. The total attendance in 2018 was slightly over 2 million people. The target for 2019 is 2.5 million.
There have been many notable visitors to the state fair whether to perform or simply experience the midway and the various exhibits. Mario Barone showed his big brain when he correctly identified Elvis as the performer that Mr. Gleiber teased for his second trivia question. Mario won fair tickets and will likely double date with Chris and Allison.
Before wrapping up Mr. Gleiber offered up two more trivia questions which John Waters won one pair of tickets when he identified Mikhail Gorbachev as the world leader who visited the fair. The final pair of fair tickets were won by Ken Riney who was Burnin’ Up to tell our crowd about the time the Jonas Brothers performed at the fair on Mr Gleiber’s “most crazy day in his 20 years of working for and at the fair.”