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State Fair of Texas

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State Fair

Bellaire librarian Mary Cohrs shares memories related to the State Fair of Texas and recommends books on its history. 

Book Buzz is a blog produced in collaboration with neighborhood librarians from Houston Public Library, Harris County Public Library and the Bellaire Library.

October is one of the nicest times of year in this part of the Texas and the reason there are so many outdoor activities planned during this month. There are so many festivals, carnivals, fiestas, jamborees, celebrations and other outdoor festivities to choose from that every weekend in October can find you planning a new and wonderful experience.

The granddaddy of these events to choose from is the Great State Fair of Texas. Held annually since 1886, this event takes over Dallas' art deco Fair Park for 24 days with rides and games, live music, agricultural exhibits and enough food vendors to satisfy any food craving you desire or have always wanted to try. Although during state fair visits I remember seeing new cars, some of the agricultural exhibits, and, of course, Big Tex, my fondest memories will always be the corn dogs (or corny dogs).

Even though the State Fair is rich in agricultural exhibits, creative arts (canning, cooking and butter sculpturing), football (Saturdays only), live music, Big Tex, and a lively midway, the richest of experiences is the offerings of fair food. Classics such as corn dogs, turkey legs, funnel cakes, cotton candy and popcorn compete these days with mini sopapillas injected with strawberry cream cheese filling, crispy coconut crab sliders, Texas Thai delight (sticky rice infused with a coconut milk mixture and layered with mangos) and much, much more.

But if you cannot make to Dallas this year, there is The Great State Fair of Texas: an Illustrated History by Nancy Wiley will catch you up on the history of our State Fair and there are some cookbooks that are available for you to try some of these recipes for fair food at home.

Fair Foods: The Most Popular and Offbeat Recipes from America's State and County Fairs by George Geary is packed with state and county fair classics such as Texas maple bacon donuts, The World’s Gooiest Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting, caramel kettle corn, fried sweet potato sticks, cheesecake on a stick, fried guacamole, fried Oreo cookies, and BBQ turkey legs.

Fair Food Recipes: Famous Food Found at State & County Fairs by JR Stevens brings you many of the classics such as funnel cakes, deep fried Coca-Cola, Texas State Fair Chili, and hot and spicy turkey legs.

See you at the fair at a corn dog booth!

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