We checked our temperatures and it’s official: we are all sick…with State Fair Fever. After all, what’s there not to love about corn dogs, blue ribbons, and Big Tex?
While most Texans already know that our State Fair is the biggest in the country, many don’t know that the location itself is filled with a rich history and details that make the fair truly special (it’s an architecture thing). So in the spirit of celebration, here are five fun facts you may not know about Dallas Fair Park:
- Fair Park was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986 and for good reason: it is the only intact and unaltered pre-1950s World Fair site remaining in the United States.
- Fair Park’s Texas Star is the tallest Ferris wheel in the Western Hemisphere – each of its 44 gondolas seats 6 passengers.
- The Spirit of the Centennial sculpture in front of the Women’s Museum is a Texas take on Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus – instead of a woman emerging from a clamshell, she emerges from a cactus.
- The Leonhardt Lagoon, an original fixture of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition, was restored and decontaminated in 1986. The redesign was one of the earliest examples of art as bioremediation: a technique that uses naturally occurring organisms to break down hazardous substances into non-toxic substances. Now that’s sustainable design!
- In 1918 the government’s war department took over Fair Park as a military training center. To this day, there is an entire Civil Defense Emergency Operation Center located underground – beneath the Health & Science Museum’s patio.
Don’t miss out on all the action: the Texas State Fair runs September 30 to October 23. For more information and to create your own itinerary of fair events, go to bigtex.com.
And while you’re there, don’t forget to check out BRW’s canned food sculpture for CANstruction 2016 – Dr. Who’s Hungry – at the Health & Science Museum benefiting the North Texas Food Bank (check back with us to see photos of the final product!).
For more surprising facts, crack open a copy of Fair Park Deco: Art and Architecture of the Texas Centennial Exposition and catch coauthors Jim Parsons and David Bush giving a lecture on the new release Thursday, November 8 in the Hall of State at Fair Park.