State Fair of Texas rolls out first ‘Fair Food Drive-Thru’ experience


Xochitl Gonzalez

The State Fair of Texas pivots because of the pandemic, providing a drive through experience for fair attendees.

Desiree Gutierrez, Staff Writer

This fall, North Texans will have a chance to get their annual fix of crispy, golden, battered goodness after all. In place of the regular fair, the State Fair of Texas will host an all-new event called the Big Tex Fair Food Drive-Thru.

After purchasing a ticket package online, customers will head to Fair Park for a series of drive-thrus featuring fair food favorites.

“I am extremely excited,” Roanna Delos Santos, a Richland Campus financial adviser, said. “The food is why I go to the fair, so this option sounded perfect.”

The event will run Sept. 25 to Oct. 18 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at Fair Park in Dallas, except for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 10-11, when it is closed  for the AT&T Red River Showdown.

Tickets went on sale Sept. 2 are available at Tickets are being sold for specific entry times. The time frames are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 1 to 5 p.m. or 5 to 5:45 p.m. 

According to, guests can choose between two food packages. Fair Food & Photo Package A is $69 and feeds up to two people. Fair Food & Photo Package B is $99 and feeds up to four people.

Each package includes entry for one vehicle, with a maximum of eight people per vehicle. Groups of more than four people may need to purchase multiple food packages. Attendees will have the option to purchase food or photo packages. 

The food items included in the ticket packages are many state fair favorite foods, including Fletcher’s Original State Fair Corny Dogs, Jack’s French Fries, Stiffler’s Fried Oreos, State Fair Cotton Candy and Pioneer Kettle Corn.

“Having a Fletcher’s Original Corny Dog is a tradition for generations of families who come to the fair every year,” Cynthia Smoot, a publicist for Fletcher’s Original Corny Dogs, said. “So when the fair approached the family with the idea of creating a drive-thru, they were thrilled to participate and be able to give fans the ability to still have a State Fair of Texas experience – even if it looks a little different this year.”

Attendees can also add extra Fletcher’s Corny Dogs to their packages. Sweet Connie’s corn on the cob, Smokey John’s sausage on a stick and Smokey John’s turkey legs are available as add-on items.

On Sept. 19 and 20, guests will have the opportunity to have their photo taken with Big Tex by a professional via the Big Tex Photo Package. The package will be $25 and available for groups of up to eight. After they have their photo taken, guests who choose this package will be able to download the photo online. No food will be sold on those days.

Attendees will be required to remain in their vehicle except when using the restroom or having their photo taken with Big Tex, according to the fair’s website. Mask-wearing and social distancing will be required of both attendees and of State Fair of Texas employees.

Employees will undergo temperature checks and wash their hands frequently. While handling food, they will be required to wear gloves and change them frequently.

State fairs elsewhere in the country have also opted to hold drive-thru alternatives. Minnesota hosted its state fair on weekends in August, ending on Labor Day. According to CNN, the Minnesota State Fair sold all 19,000 available tickets in 2.5 hours.

Karissa Condoianis, State Fair of Texas senior vice president of public relations, said the event could help bring back some of the fun North Texans have been missing this year.

“While this year has felt anything but ordinary,” she said, “we look forward to bringing a piece of tradition back to the Lone Star State in an all-new safe and fun way.”