Tag Archives: State Fair of Texas

Things to Do In Dallas When You’re Dead

Today is the start of the State Fair of Texas, and we all know what that means, right?

Of course, there’s always room for a sequel, where Big Tex is resurrected and turned into a champion of good, fighting the robot dinosaurs in Glen Rose. Now all we need is the ending, with Big Tex flying off into the sunset after setting the issue by crying out “Form Blazing Stetson!”, and one little kid screaming “Big Tex, come baaaaaaaaack!” We can even call the movie Third Coast. Have someone at DNA Productions give me a call, and we’ll do lunch.

More from the State Fair of Texas: my perfect greenhouse

Greenhouse Exterior

I don’t like to think I’m greedy or anything. Honest. All I want is a new, reasonably-sized greenhouse to fill with carnivores, Wollemi pines, and ferns. The Czarina knows this, and she’s offered to help build a new one, with all of the features desperately needed for said new greenhouse. Underground parking, orbital disintegrator ray, emergency teleporters and sample decontamination chambers, and at least one good solid airlock. Nothing much, really. She’s used to seeing me viewing greenhouse catalogs and, in the immortal words of Sam Hurt, “have you ever seen a puppy dog being lowered very slowly into a vat of warm bacon fat?”

Oh, I had nothing on Pavlov’s dogs when we visited the Greenhouse on the Midway at the State Fair of Texas. I looked at her. She looked back at me. I smiled. She told me “NO. Not until we get a bigger house first.” Damn her for being practical: I just noted that we could build the house inside of the greenhouse and still have plenty of room.

Greenhouse interior

Greenhouse interior

Greenhouse conveyor

Greenhouse warning

Greenhouse interior

Greenhouse train tunnel

Greenhouse train

Greenhouse pumpkins

Greenhouse manguey

Greenhouse interior

I can see her point. We’re also going to need a bigger yard.

The Chinese Lantern Festival at Fair Park – 3

Chinese Lantern Festival - Czarina

I’d be lying if I said we attended the Chinese Lantern Festival at Fair Park solely for the Czarina, but it’s also mostly true. She wanted to catch this from the moment she heard about it, and I figured “Well, this should be interesting, but it’s for her.” How was I supposed to know that one particularly primordial end of Leonhardt Lagoon would be full of dinosaurs?

As for this first photo, for some reason, the Festival had two animatronic dinosaurs, probably brought out during the Museum of Nature & Science’s move, on display as well. Not only was nobody complaining, but at the end of October, it was actually quite charming.

Chinese Lantern Festival - Apatosaurus

Chinese Lantern Festival - Triceratops

Chinese Lantern Festival - Triceratops

Chinese Lantern Festival - Ouranosaurus

And for those who now regret not coming out to the Festival while it was running, the Festival was such a success that it re-opens on November 1 and runs until January 6, 2013. I recommend getting out there this weekend, while the weather remains this pleasant. Of course, this being Dallas, we could have this sort of weather holding out until after Christmas, but make plans to visit it early anyway. Maybe next time, I’ll come out there with fully charged batteries in my camera, just so I can photograph the rest of the dinosaurs.

The Chinese Lantern Festival at Fair Park – 3

Chinese Lantern Festival - Longhorns

One of the biggest selling points in the promotion of the Chinese Lantern Festival at Fair Park is that this isn’t a touring exhibition. This was designed specifically for Fair Park, and as such, it has a lot of touches endemic to Texas. Hence, longhorns.

Chinese Lantern Festival - trees

Chinese Lantern Festival - tower

Chinese Lantern Festival

Chinese Lantern Festival - Peacock and peahen

More to follow…

The Chinese Lantern Festival at Fair Park – 2

Chinese Lantern Festival

When the Chinese Lantern Festival opened at Dallas’s Fair Park, the automatic assumption was that this was going to be more like a Japanese lantern festival, with paper lanterns filled with candles being released into the sky. This was more of an ongoing exhibition of what could be done with silk, wire, and lighting. It includes everything from the childlike (a landscape of cartoonish pandas playing and ambling through the undergrowth) to the surreal (a gigantic dragon composed of porcelain plates and cups, outlined in neon). A high point, and the festival is nothing but highlights, is the tremendous lotus in the middle of Leonhardt Lagoon, which opens and closes slowly while frogs on lily pads slowly rotate around it.

Chinese Lantern Festival - Lotus and Frogs

Chinese Lantern Festival - Kirin

Chinese Lantern Festival - landscape

More to follow…

The Chinese Lantern Festival at Fair Park – 1

Texas Star ferris wheel

This time of the year gives plenty of reasons to visit the State Fair of Texas, and the Czarina and I finally got out there the Thursday before its closing on October 21. Those who haven’t attended before can’t understand the sheer joy of wandering through Fair Park this time of the year, especially at night. By the end of October, the skies are as clear as they’re ever going to get, adding a particular clarity to everything outside. Neon doesn’t just glow: it snaps. With the air quality comes a certain crispness to both vision and hearing, and it’s perfectly reasonable to just stand in one spot, watching people and events, without ever visiting a single event. I was first exposed to this when I lived across the street in Exposition Park two decades ago, and the sight of the Texas Star ferris wheel in full neon still thrills me to no end.

Big Tex burning up

“I AM THE GOD OF HELLFIRE, AND I GIVE YOU FIRE!” (photographer unknown)

This year, it was eventful, too. The news of Big Tex, the mascot and symbol of the State Fair, catching fire on October 19 reached an international audience. Some people cried. Others told dark jokes, such as the tale of two fellow Texas icons being caught fleeing the scene and giving their only statement to the police. In my case, thanks to the batteries in my camera dying at the worst possible time, I told myself “Oh, I’ll get a photo of Big Tex at night next year.” Now my biggest regret is that we’ll never see the ultimate in Lone Star daikaiju, with Big Tex going into battle against the Sinclair dinosaurs in Glen Rose.

The real reason to go to the Fair this year, though, was to see the Chinese Lantern Festival, wrapping around both sides of the old Museum of Nature & Science and taking over Leonhardt Lagoon. Let’s just say that anybody seeing the Festival during the day was definitely missing out.

Chinese Lantern Festival gate