My family loves the State Fair of Texas. We find it absolutely Parisian. Here’s why…
Food – Obviously, Paris is widely known as the cockpit of culinary innovation, and the plates executed by world famous French chefs such as Alain Passard and Joël Robuchon tempt the tastebuds of many tourists each year. But if you can’t make it to Maison Gregoire for a mouthwatering croissant, may I humbly suggest a similarly genius combination of crispy, soft, and chewy in the form of the Texas invention: Fried Butter. I contend that every chef in Paris wishes they had invented fried butter, but no one (in France OR Texas) can steal the idea because no one can determine how in the world you actually fry butter. I don’t care how: I’ll take two, please. 10/10 Texans agree that the only way to say it is “corny dog” and the only place to order from is Fletcher’s. If you waste your time in any other corny dog line, you are just lost. Honestly, while the Fair doesn’t have any “Michelin Stars” per se, Paris doesn’t have a plethora of foods on a stick, so those categories are a wash. Both Paris and the Texas State Fair love to fry their foods, and the Tornado Tater holds up nicely against an order of Pommes Frites.
Turkey legs, fried guacamole, fried Girl Scout Cookies, and funnel cakes don’t get all the praise they deserve. At the Texas State Fair, you can choose corn on the cob with or without butter, and with or without spices. Spoiler: hot corn on the cob is delicious in any permutation of the above. The Texas State Fair chefs and Parisian chefs all innovate within their specialties – but one you can get to for $1,200 and one costs under $20. I love Paris, don’t get me wrong, but when I’m needing to scratch that foodie itch this Fall, you’ll know where to find me. Pumping ketchup in front of Fletcher’s, that’s where.
Wine – One can taste many of the best wines in the world in restaurants in Paris, and an outstanding array of vino is similarly available at the Texas State Fair Wine Garden. This is an underrated spot, tucked away in a shady courtyard that you might walk right by if you didn’t know about it. The garden features wines from over 40 wineries over the course of the Fair, and offers Texas craft beers as well. If you like live music, check the schedule for jazz or blues performances. It is like an outdoor bar that is completely kid-friendly, and I highly recommend it as a date night option if you can’t get to Paris to taste wines this September/October.
Shopping – Parisian women love to shop, and so do Texan women. Parisian women tend to be minimalists, with their monochromatic stripes, neck scarves and their simple accessories. Texan women are maximalists, and our motto is the antithesis of Coco Chanel. Chanel once famously said about editing a look:“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” Texan women refuse this advice, and instead exercise it’s opposite. The deals at the summer sales in Paris are unbeatable, but there’s one thing I have never found while shopping there, and that’s an airbrushed t-shirt with my name on the front in calligraphy. The State Fair of Texas offers the best deals available on everything from blenders to hot tubs, from jewelry to massage chairs. Check out this list and scope what you need before you go, and definitely stop for a break at the massage chairs whether you’re in the market or not!
Art & Architecture – Paris has The Louvre, the Musee D’Orsay, the Pompidou, and Notre Dame. We have no shortage of culture either with offerings such as Big Tex, the Automobile Exhibit, and an enormous collection of Art Deco buildings. The Fairgrounds are also home to the Dallas Children’s Aquarium, the African American Museum, the Texas Discovery Gardens, and the Texas Vietnam Memorial, all of which will be open for your perusal during the Fair dates.
A Famous Light Show – The majestic glittering of the Tour Eiffel in Paris, for ten minutes every hour is a sight to be seen. Equally so is ascending the Eiffel Tower to watch the rest of Paris light up. Not to be outdone, the State Fair of Texas has its own light show. At the Fair, the Mattress Firm Illumination Sensation is a pyrotechnic show that begins each night at 8pm and includes laser lights, liquid fire, fireworks, dancers, music, and acrobats. The show lasts 18 minutes, and my family has been able to catch it after watching the nightly Parade, which starts at 7:15pm.
A famous Promenade – Not unlike how crossing the Avenue des Champs-Élysées signals the end of the Tour de France, when our family makes our weary promenade down The Midway after dark, it means we’re done. We have walked too much, eaten too much, and spent too much. But the memories have made it worth it. Farewell, Fair. Au Revoir, jusqu’à l’année prochaine. We will do it all again next year.