Despite Legitimate Requests For More Time, The State Fair Of Texas And Its Powerful Friends Rushed The City Into Adding 10 Years To Its Fair Park Lease.
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.
In true State Fair of Texas fashion, the process it engaged in last year while looking to extend its Fair Park lease agreement was unsurprisingly… well, let’s just say “murky.”
In December of last year, Dallas City Council voted to approve a lease extension for the State Fair of Texas to remain at Fair Park through 2038. The discussion surrounding the vote was a rigid one, as the council’s Quality of Life committee actually voted against approving such an amendment in the run-up to that vote, with then-councilperson Sandy Greyson requesting that a vote on the matter be delayed so more information on the fair’s lease could be gathered. Greyson, along with then-council members Scott Griggs and Phillip Kingston, said she still had questions regarding the fair’s revenues and expenses — numbers that, per usual with all things regarding the fair, it was unable to promptly provide. Regarding questions about the amendment, Fair Park First board president Darren James even told council members that his organization, which champions all things Fair Park-related, “hadn’t had the chance to look at all the financial impacts going forward,” per a D Magazine article on the matter.
Even so, the fair definitely had one major positive going for it throughout all this negativity — strength in the for of firm, ongoing support from then-Mayor Mike Rawlings. Just a week before the aforementioned the council eventually approved the fair’s requested extension, Rawlings took a hard, seemingly already-assured stance on topic during his 2018 State of the City address, during which he said the following: “We’ve got a private operator that we kind of created that 365 [day] experience. We’re going to vote next week to extend the State Fair contract. So now we’ve got a great State Fair, great Fair Park, and we’re going to put the park back into fair park, get rid of those concretes and put green space.”
We’ll concede that they mayor’s right to a degree: City Council put unanimous faith in Fair Park’s new partnership agreement with Spectra, the event space and parks management company that it has contracted to try and revitalize Fair Park and its year-round offerings.
But, still, it needs to be asked: Why was Rawlings in such a rush to get this deal done? The fair already had a lease agreement in place at the time that ran through 2028. Why was the mayor so against any request for specific numbers from the fair before the city agreed to a contract extension? The fair, after all, already has a history of not living up to its promises — an issue Kingston raised during discussions about the proposal, pointing to the fair’s deferred maintenance on Fair Park’s historically significant buildings and how its footprint gets in the way of Fair Park being used for much of anything else throughout the year.
In the face of these legitimate concerns, Rawlings was openly perturbed that extending the fair’s contract was even being questioned. But, again: Why? Was he just angling for a “tri-color” pass? Maybe! Either way, he seemed to be reinforcing the fair’s age-old use of fear-mongering tactics in its negotiations with the city.
Ten months later, we still don’t know the mayor’s motives here. All we know is that the ink on the page is now dry, and the State Fair of Texas once again had its way with Dallas.
Considering the fair’s proclivity for ripping off even its fans, should we really be surprised?
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.
- It caters too much to TX/OU weekend.
- Even its booze is gimmicky.
- It’s predictable.
Cover photo by Carol M. Highsmith via WikiCommons.