Big Tex was installed in 2020 (pictured here), even though the State Fair of Texas did not go on as planned because of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, the fair is planning a comeback. The State Fair of Texas will return in 2021, confirms its spokeswoman. The coronavirus pandemic […]
The State Fair of Texas will return in 2021, confirms its spokeswoman. The coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the storied Texas tradition in 2020.
It’s welcome news for an event with a 135-year-old history, says State Fair of Texas president Mitchell Glieber in a statement.
“We’re excited to make up for lost time and help families and friends from all walks of life reconnect again, while making new memories to last a lifetime,” he says.
The event will take place in Fair Park in Dallas from Sept. 24, 2021 through Oct. 17, 2021. Many of the traditions are expected to return: Corny dogs will be sizzling in the fryers; flashy, new cars will be parked at the Texas Auto Show; and the Midway will be buzzing with games.
The event usually welcomes 2.5 million people over its 24-day run. It’s not clear yet whether the same number of fairgoers will be allowed inside Fair Park in 2021. A statement from the State Fair says the group will follow the guidelines from the CDC and other government agencies and that further information about COVID-19 precautions will be shared “closer to opening day.”
A statement on the COVID-19 update page notes that the fair “may look slightly different from every other year to ensure a safe environment.” Season passes for the State Fair of Texas are on sale now.
Last year, Big Tex was still installed in Fair Park even though millions of fairgoers didn’t get the chance to visit. It was Tex’s 68th year on the job, but it was the first time he wore a mask. (The mask was 84 inches by 45 inches — just a little bigger than a twin-sized mattress.)
Big Tex will not wear a mask this year, says Karissa Condoianis, senior vice president of public relations for the State Fair of Texas.
Also in 2020, the fair hosted a drive-through fair-food parade, intended to keep the “State Fair spirit alive,” as Condoianis put it. It was a way to let thousands of people, in their cars, onto the fairgrounds for some fun. But it was not a replacement for the State Fair of Texas, Condoianis often said that year.
The State Fair of Texas is a nonprofit that gives millions of dollars to Texas kids for higher-education scholarships. And the cancellation of the larger event was a major financial blow to the fair, which saw its 2019 revenue of about $66 million tank to just over $4 million in 2020.
Condoianis says the fair is “returning in all its Lone Star glory” in September 2021.
“Every year we are honored to be a place for people to say, ‘Howdy, Folks!,’ to each other, and after a year without the State Fair of Texas, we’re more elated than ever before to be that place again in 2021,” she says.