Big Tex, Icon of Texas State Fair, Burns to the Ground


Burn, baby, burn

Big Tex, the 52-foot-tall symbol of the Texas State Fair, smoldered, caught fire, and was finally engulfed in flames late last week at the fairgrounds in Dallas before firefighters could arrive and put it out. As the above video demonstrates, the process took only six minutes. The fair is famous for its pioneering approach to fried foods, and contests are held each year among concessionaires to see who can create the tastiest and most absurd.


Big Tex — the actual giant-size clothes are provided by a Fort Worth apparel manufacturer, with fiberglass arms and a metal frame — was celebrating his 60th birthday at the fair. Previously, he’d been a Santa Claus in Kerens, Texas, since 1949.

The statue has a 10-gallon hat that actually holds 75 gallons, and Big Tex’s belt buckle weighs 50 pounds, according to the Austin, Texas American Statesman.

The statue would speak to fairgoers via a PA system voiced from a nearby trailer, saying things like “Howdy, folks!” and “Welcome y’all, to the Texas State Fair.”

This year’s food concession fried winners included Deep Fried Jambalaya (Best Taste) and Fried Bacon Cinnamon Roll (Most Creative), invented by Abel Gonzales and Butch Benavides, respectively.

Fried Jambalaya

Fried Bacon Cinnamon Roll

Big Tex is expected to be rebuilt and will be ready for next year’s Texas State Fair.

[Thanks to my brother David Sietsema for the link.]