Monday, September 14, 2015

Artful Journeys, Week #37 "Let's Go to the Fair"

Fair season is here!  Yay!!   I love going to the fair, thinking about the fair, eating my way around the fair.  And yes, I love the exhibits and all the sights and sounds that make up the great State Fair of Texas.

The State Fair of Texas began in 1886 and has continued annually except for a few missing years during WWI and WWII.  It generally always starts the last Friday in September and runs for 24 days. During the run of the fair, there are over 2.5 million visitors, making it one of the highest attended fairs in the world.  The 80 acre grounds at historic Fair Park houses one of the greatest collections of art deco buildings in the world, that have been renovated to their full 1936 visual glory. Many are still undergoing structural renovations.  Fair Park houses the grand Hall of State, several museums, the aquarium, the State Fair Music Hall, Starplex and other attractions.  Many special events are held on the grounds throughout the year and Fair Park has undergone many changes, renovations and upgrades throughout the years.  The first Red River Rivaly (Texas-OU game) took place in 1929.

The Texas Star at night

We had the proud distinction of installing the largest ferris wheel in North America in 1985, known as the Texas Star. It is 212 feet tall, weighs in at 678,554 pounds, at an initial cost of $2.2 million dollars (Things are always bigger and better in Texas, aren't they?) Sadly, the Star of Puebla in Mexico installed in 2013 stands at 250 feet.

The fair hasn't gone by all these years without a few catastrophes, including the collapse of the gondolas (Swiss Sky Ride) in 1979 causing its total removal, several ride incidents, the removal in 1989 of the Texas Comet Roller Coaster that had been in place since 1947.

Debut of Big Tex, 1952
Fire - October 12, 2012

The biggest and saddest catastrophe of all was the fire that destroyed our beloved Big Tex on October 19, 2012. Texans loved and totally identified with Big Tex, who started his life as a big wire framed Santa Claus, but transformed to Big Tex in 1952 and was and still is a fixture at the entrance to the Midway.  Big Tex is a common meeting place to rendevous with friends and family and I would hazard to guess 100's of thousands of photographs have been taken there.

As a child, we couldn't wait until "fair day."  Admission tickets were (and still are) given to all school age children in the state to attend the annual State Fair of Texas.  My mother would take us, with picnic basket in hand.  Back in the day, buying a lot of fair food was just not economically feasible for my mother, but she labored diligently every year making a great picnic of fried chicken and all the trimmings. We would almost always have lunch on the grounds of the Hall of State building that is regal and currently houses a significant amount of historical artifacts for the State of Texas.  How she lugged around that heavy basket all day, in a dress, with heels on, I will never know. Thank goodness I never had to do that.

After joining the band in 7th grade, fair trips were always on the band bus until I graduated from high school. We played concerts at the Hall of State, and we always very disappointed if our time was scheduled for late in the day. We wanted to be one of the first bands to perform in the mornings so we could have the entire day to have fun with our friends.  Bands always marched in the Twilight Parade each evening, bringing a close to a long day of fun and merriment.

I have missed very few State Fairs in my lifetime.  When I was living overseas, and a few years here and there.  When my brother was working the parade with the Scottish Rite band, we would go every day and schedule our visits to exhibits throughout the entire run of the fair.  And our first stop was ALWAYS to the Fletcher Corny Dog stand.  Seems like nowadays, we are planning our visits around the grounds based on what food we want to try next.  And there is always something new and exciting to try.  Dieting during the fair is not an option.  Most everything we want, and we get, is your basic heart attack on a plate.  But it is so worth it.

What I did for my spread this week is based on my fondest memories of the fair.  The food, the rides, the exhibits, The Hall of State.  I tried making a spread all in black and white and shades of gray, but it just wasn't working for me.  So I gathered together some favorite vintage and new photographs and prepared this digital collage, that I have printed and added to my Canson mixed media journal. The background started as a vintage 1960's postcard that has been modified and of course added to and enhanced with some of my favorite fair images.

I hope you like what I prepared and that you will hop on over to see what Melody and Shana made this week too.

Here's hoping you get to go to a fair near you this fall.  I'm definitely making my annual sojourn to the Great State Fair of Texas in just a few short days.  The anticipation is killing me!

As always, keep it artful!


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