Don't Forget Your Defibrillator! America's Top State Fairs
Ferris Wheel (Photo: Think Stock)
For millions of Americans, it’s as much of a summertime tradition as 4th of July fireworks, cookouts, and disastrous family vacations: a trip to the state fair. More than 170 years after the first state fair in Syracuse, N.Y., these massive outdoor gatherings continue to be hot tickets; the top 10 state fairs alone drew more than 12 million visitors last year.
And what’s not to love? State fairs are annual outdoor celebrations of Americana—places where the young and old can meet to enjoy rides, livestock competitions, live music, arts and crafts contests, and deep-fried everything-but-the-kitchen-sink concoctions that make their cardiologists weep.
Here’s a quick look at some of the biggest, most enticing state fairs out there. If you happen to live in one of these states, consider yourself lucky and go. And if you don’t, the great thing about state fairs is that they allow outsiders too!
Racing Pigs (Photo: krgjumper/Creative Commons)
Dallas, Texas, Sept. 26-Oct. 19
Year Established: 1886
2013 Attendance: 2,598,215
Why You Should Go: Because the country’s biggest fair deserves a chance to show you what all the hype’s about. Because pig and ostrich races need to be seen to be believed. Because the Texas religion of football is well represented (Grambling State vs. Prairie View A&M on Sept. 27 and Texas vs. Oklahoma on October 11). And because while any event that hosts a huge chili cookoff and a BBQ cook-off on the same day should be applauded, an event that also hosts the Great American Spam Championship needs to be sanctified.
Best Thing To Stuff Your Face With: Last year featured The Awesome Deep-Fried Nutella and a battered and deep-fried cheese, pepper, and bacon dish called the Texas Fried Fireball.
Wheel of Fortune Audition (Photo: Selena N. B. H./Creative Commons)