The Annual College Football Showdown Between Texas And Oklahoma — One Of The State Fair Of Texas’ Marquee Annual Events — Turns Dallas On Its Head.
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 2019 run, adding to the list we ran throughout the fair’s 2017 run.
Year in and year out, TX/OU weekend brings to Dallas a lot of sound and fury that ultimately amounts to very little.
Earlier in this series, we detailed the many ways in which the Red River Rivarly and its annual swarm of Longhorn Bros and Sooner Scros upon our city ain’t shit — despite what you might’ve heard.
A brief refresher:
- For whatever reason, Fair Park has dedicated a 2,700-spot parking lot known as Boxwood to only being used one day a year — on the day of the Texas-Oklahoma game, naturally — which is just a mind-blowing waste of land.
- The City of Dallas historically pays these schools $500,000 each to play this game every year, with the State Fair itself kicking in an additional $100,000 to each program. This agreement also finds the teams splitting ticket sales revenues and the fair pocketing all concessions — as the City of Dallas get nothing but bloated claims of “economic benefits” in return.
- Beyond academic studies debunking citywide economic boosts from the game, we’ve heard bar and restaurant owners regularly complaining about the impossible conundrum that the Red River Showdown puts their businesses in, lulling them into scheduling extra staff surrounding the game just in case only to have it rarely pay off because all of the (supposedly) out-of-town football fans just end up spending all their money within the fair’s own gates.
- Additionally, bar and restaurant owners have told us that their regulars — Dallasites who help keep these spots open the other 51 weeks of the year — often choose to stay away from going out during TX/OU weekend, preferring not to deal with the tourist crowds, also hurting these spots’ bottom lines.
Still, every year, our inboxes get filled with venues around town doing all they can to get draw out-of-towners to their climes and ignoring their usual crowds in the process. Below are just nine of the TX/OU weekend-related events we found taking place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this year.
- Happiest Hour (all weekend long). This swanky patio bar is touting 25 TVs and one Jumbo Screen (they haven’t specified exactly how “jumbo” though) as a means to draw crowds. General admission is free, but access to the rooftop costs $25.
- Lava Cantina (Saturday). Lava knows the undying truth that UT and OU fans should be kept as far away from each other as possible on game day — so they’ll be splitting the place in half, sitcom-style, with each side having its own buffets and DJs. In total, it’s promoting at least 34 screens, plus a big 20-foot-by-12-foot LED wall in the backyard. GA’s free, with patio and balcony access available to buy.
- Granada Theater (Saturday). This watch party’s presented by Yelp, the favorite site of retail’s most annoying customers. $10 gets you admission, concert-sized screens and sound, and a complimentary taco plate.
- The Bomb Factory (Friday). The night before the big game, The Bomb Factory’s hosting this event for Texas Exes, complete with live tunes and a photo booth. A Longhorn party requires some Longhorn money, though, and individual tickets are $94 once you factor in fees.
- The Rustic (Saturday). The Rustic will be hosting a watch party on Saturday with all TVs and their sound turned on, while slinging large cocktail pitchers, family-sized plates and the satisfaction of another game day weekend survived.
- The W (Friday). This weekend kickoff event is catered towards black alumni from both UT and OU. Admission’s free before 10:30 p.m, $10 before 11 p.m. and $25 after, with VIP options also available.
- Legacy Hall (Saturday). A free watch party held in the fancy food hall’s outdoor patio. The sound will be on as the game is played on a large screen up on this space’s stage, but otherwise it’s a pretty normal day up in Plano.
- Stirr (Friday). This “Champagne Tailgate” is essentially a networking event with sports decor. Admission’s free, but the drinks sure won’t be.
- Bo-Leo’s Taco Shack (Saturday). We couldn’t find much info on how many screens would be showing the game, but beer and tacos will be in abundance at this spot just outside of the fairgrounds.
Rest assured, these are just the tip of the iceberg.
So, to recap: The City of Dallas pays each school to play this game so that the State Fair of Texas can line its own pockets with a marquee annual event that provides no actual, and even minimal theoretical, return on the investment of your tax dollars; meanwhile, almost every other entertainment-focused business in town thirstily tries to cater to tourists (for better or worse) because they know that any learned Dallasite stays away from all the headaches that this annual weekend-long nightmare can induce.
What’s not to love?
Cover photo via the University of Oklahoma’s Twitter.
More Reasons Why The State Fair Of Texas Sucks:
- Its history is super racist!
- It’s a major drain on Dallas police!
- It’s bad for your health!
- It’s so damn expensive!
- It’s not the economic driver it says it is!
- It’s a super shitty neighbor!
- It’s an altar to false idols!
- It makes Fair Park useless!
- It wastes city funds on out-of-towners!
- It exploits cute animals!
- Its executives take home too much money!
- Everything on the midway is a ripoff.
- It has willfully ignored its obligations and allowed Fair Park to fall into disrepair!
- It refuses to be transparent about the way it spends public funds.
- It can’t handle Fair Park’s long-term needs.
- Its lauded scholarship program is a joke compared to those of other, similar events.
- It uses fear tactics in its negotiations with the city.
- It goes out of its way to shield its crowds from the poor black neighborhood that surrounds Fair Park.
- Its low-level employees get burned by its executives’ bad business decisions.
- Its ticket-based economy is designed to squeeze even more cash out of attendees.
- It cares way too much about parking lots that go unused most of the year.
- It’s petty as fuck.
- It celebrates humanity’s fucked up relationship with livestock.
- It refuses to change.
- It can be easily debated.
- Its concert bookings could be heated up a few degrees.
- It’s tearing the Fletcher family apart!
- It’s spent a least $1 million to keep its books out of the public eye. What’s it hiding?
- It fired a beloved employee, claiming his request to attend a charity event was a contract violation.
- It has become a literal joke.
- Who’s buying what they’re selling?
- Its racist roots are still being unearthed by national scholars.
- It’s in bed with its would-be critics.
- It thinks you’re super dumb.
- It caters to Dallas’ elite in ways you’ve never even heard of because you’re such a plebe.
- No, seriously, its racist past is super troubling.
- Its attendance is in decline — to the point where other state fairs that last half as long draw bigger annual attendance figures.