The State Fair Doesn’t Want To Change — Because, Hey, Tradition Is Tradition, And Corny Dogs Are Clearly More Important Than Anything Else.

Unlike seemingly every other media outlet in Dallas and, to a degree, the whole goddamn state, we here at Central Track aren’t exactly enamored with the State Fair of Texas. Why? Because, for starters, we’re not kids any more, and we’re no longer oblivious to the ways of the world. But also for a litany of other reasons, which we’ll happily run down for you here, one per day, over the entire course of the fair’s 2017 run. Here is the first entry into that series. 

And so we have arrived at the end of this winding road.

What a series this has been, huh? Throughout it, we’ve covered everything from the State Fair of Texas’ Ku Klux Klan-friendly origins to the modern-day animal cruelty still on display at the fair.

We’ve also looked into some more directly relevant issues to Dallasites, like the fact that the State Fair probably doesn’t generate the amount of money it claims to for Dallas or the fact that it refuses to be transparent about its dealings.

The final point we wish to make about Big Tex and the folks who put on this 24-day, heart-clogging celebration of all things Texas is simple: At the end of the day, the State Fair doesn’t want to change. 

It doesn’t want to be transparent and honest.

It doesn’t want to help maintain Fair Park.

It doesn’t want to help the residents of South Dallas, preferring instead to just hide them from sight.

Its organizers are clearly more concerned with having the public’s backing than fixing its many real issues — something we can fully confirm now that we’ve witnessed the fair handing out free “Honor Guest” passes to people who have been trashing our coverage.

And, in the fair’s defense, it sure does seem to have the majority of the public’s backing. We may have gone out of our way to highlight a number of issues we have with the State Fair of Texas, but the truth is that Central Track is not alone in calling for the Dallas City Council to demand that the fair’s board be more open about its dealings and spending; in reality, every major publication in Dallas has at one point called for a more transparent State Fair.

But, just this past week, the fair learned that it doesn’t have to change up a damn thing, no matter how loud we clamor for reform. On Thursday, State District Judge Tonya Parker sided with the State Fair in allowing it to remain silent about its dealings, agreeing with the fair’s argument that it didn’t receive any public subsidies.

A ruling like that is a difficult to swallow when we know for a fact that the City of Dallas pays for the fair’s security and that the city basically lets the fair get away without paying rent for the usage of Fair Park since Dallas’ Parks Department maintains Fair Park and takes care of that land’s upkeep on the fair’s behalf.   

How in hell that doesn’t count as the fair receiving public funds to operate is beyond us. But, hey, what else is new? This is America. It’s not the first time rich folks get away with one in the courts system, and it almost certainly will not be the last.

Of course, that doesn’t, and shouldn’t, excuse the most bothersome aspect of the State Fair of Texas’ unwillingness to change — that hordes of fairgoers refuse to acknowledge even the slightest possibility that the State Fair of Texas could be overestimating its worth or straight up lying about the way it manages its funds.

At first, we had a difficult time understanding why people are so committed to this troubling tradition. But then we remembered that the President of The United States regularly attacks the free press, labeling the research and efforts of journalists as fake news. And, rather suddenly, it all comes into perspective.

To the many of you out there who just flat out can’t believe that the human beings who run the State Fair of Texas could possibly make mistakes or that they might just want to maintain their ridiculous salaries: This series was never meant for you.

Instead, it was meant for those of you with an open enough mind to objectively consider facts and maybe realize that, “Hey, maybe we shouldn’t just let these folks act and operate as they wish to do so on public property, and with the help of our public funds.”

To that second set: We end this series with a plea.

If you can walk away from reading this series legitimately still believing that your memories at the State Fair of Texas are more important than the current lives of South Dallas residents, then we simply hope that you never find yourself in a situation where your city and your neighbors have chosen to forget about you.

If, on the other hand, this series has made you think, at least on some level, that we can expect and demand better of our cultural tent poles, might we remind you that the City of Dallas is set to decide on which private, outside group should be in charge of Fair Park’s future? And might we suggest that we as a city choose against the selection of Fair Park Foundation — the group that the State Fair board immediately backed?

As we step off this ride, that’s the thought we’re left with, anyway.

Well, that and this: It’s October 22, 2017 and the State Fair of Texas still sucks.

Cover image via David R. Tibble at Wikimedia Commons.

More Reasons Why The State Fair Of Texas Sucks:

  1. Its history is super racist!
  2. It’s a major drain on Dallas police!
  3. It’s bad for your health!
  4. It’s so damn expensive!
  5. It’s not the economic driver it says it is!
  6. It’s a super shitty neighbor!
  7. It’s an altar to false idols!
  8. It makes Fair Park useless!
  9. It wastes city funds on out-of-towners!
  10. It exploits cute animals!
  11. Its executives take home too much money!
  12. Everything on the midway is a ripoff.
  13. It has willfully ignored its obligations and allowed Fair Park to fall into disrepair!
  14. It refuses to be transparent about the way it spends public funds.
  15. It can’t handle Fair Park’s long-term needs.
  16. Its lauded scholarship program is a joke compared to those of other, similar events.
  17. It uses fear tactics in its negotiations with the city.
  18. It goes out of its way to shield its crowds from the poor black neighborhood that surrounds Fair Park.
  19. Its low-level employees get burned by its executives’ bad business decisions.
  20. Its ticket-based economy is designed to squeeze even more cash out of attendees.
  21. It cares way too much about parking lots that go unused most of the year.
  22. It’s petty as fuck.
  23. It celebrates humanity’s fucked up relationship with livestock.
  24. It refuses to change.
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