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What Really Makes the State Fair of Texas the Country’s Largest

 

Big Tex at The State Fair of Texas
Big Tex at The State Fair of Texas

Indeed, everything IS bigger in Texas; and I’m not talking about the State Fair. We just got back from a trip to Dallas and took our twins to the legendary State Fair of Texas. This was our first visit in several years and I’m not sure if it was simply the time away or if things have changed this quickly, but if the Texas obesity rate is between 30-35% (obesity prevalence in 2013), then the Texas State Fair obesity rate must be well over 50%! I went to the fair to enjoy myself and let the kids have a great time, not to analyze people. But being in the fitness and nutrition business so long has caused me to notice people’s weights even when I’m off the clock. Not much really surprises me anymore when it comes to how out of shape and overweight our society is becoming. Debate runs on whether it is too much food, too little activity, or a combination of both. The attendees at the state fair that day really left me in a semi-state of shock. I don’t know if it’s the plethora of unhealthy foods (see below) that this fair is famous for, or just the direction we are going, but it sure seemed to be a disproportionate amount of obese and morbidly obese fair goers that day.

Funnel Cake Beer
The Funnel Cake Beer was interesting…

Putting my nutritionist hat aside, we had a great time, and yes, we even ate some traditional State Fair of Texas cuisine: my wife and I dined on the legendary Fletcher’s Corny Dog (a jalapeño version of course), tried the Funnel Cake Beer, and the twins attempted to eat footlong hotdogs. And of course what’s a fair without ice cream! We saw many of the new culinary additions but just couldn’t get our minds around the why of most of it, not to mention would the calories even be worth it? Or, simply, would digestion even be possible? I kept expecting to see Deep-Fried Pepto Bismol or Mylanta on a Stick. Maybe next year.

Now, I know there is no way we walked enough to work off our fair fare, but all in all, we didn’t do too much damage. At the end of the night, we used all of our tickets and made it safely back to our hotel, no gastroenteritis, or nausea from the rides or the food. We enjoyed ourselves and even lost weight: from our wallet! $8 for a corn dog? What will next year bring – $10 fried air on a stick? Who knows, but you can bet that there will be plenty of people in line to try it out!

Ice cream at The Texas State Fair
The Adams family enjoys the State Fair of Texas ice cream!
Deep Fried Breakfast for Dinner
This was an award winner?

I enjoy the fair just as much as anyone, but there is really no need for so much of the food to be SO bad. A few corn dog stands, turnkey leg kiosks, and ice cream would be plenty. But do we really need Deep Fried “Breakfast for Dinner” or Deep Fried Bubble Gum, Beer, or Butter (I wish i was making this up). In Texas, bigger is always perceived as better, so I am sure the one-upmanship with fried, artery-clogging fair food will continue, but hopefully there will still be traditional offerings and a few healthy items available each year for those of us that prefer to have our thrills on the fair rides, not the porcelain roller coaster! Here’s hoping no on figures out how to deep fry water…

Just a few new foods this year (courtesy bigtex.com):

  • Texas Fried Chicken in a Waffle Cone
  • Fried Chocolate Maple Bacon Amazeballz
  • Deep Fried Smoked Brisket
  • Deep Fried Milk and Cookies on a Stick
  • Fried Pumpkin Spice Oreo
  • Deep Fried Sweet Tea (again, I’m not making this stuff up; it’s really an item!)
  • Biscuit Fries with Chocolate Gravy
  • Island Bourbon and Jamaican Jerk Chicken Skewers (for those that don’t want to clog their arteries in a single visit)

Hope you enjoy your next trip to your local fair! Keep it fun, light, and lots of walking and you can enjoy yourself without worrying about being as stuffed as those stuffed animals on the Midway!

Be well.

Dr. A

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