Big Tex Goes Up-Ready to Welcome Visitors to Texas State Fair

Big Tex Goes Up
Photo by Chris Waits

Thanks to photographer Chris Waits for capturing these images of Big Tex being raised up to greet the crowds expected to visit the 2022 State Fair of Texas Sept. 30-Oct. 23. While taking photos, Chris met local artist Eric Hanson, the first Texas-based artist hired to participate in the Official Big Tex Portrait program.

Hanson has lived in Dallas since 1977, and received his B.A. in Graphic Design from Abilene Christian University in 1994. He designed Web-related graphics for 20 years, and also painted 40 residential and commercial murals. He was “inspired by the high volume of artwork produced by his then two-year-old daughter Georgia,” Hanson says, and in 2009 he decided to pursue fine arts. In 2015, he left his full-time digital graphics job to pursue a career in fine art. He currently lives in Uptown Dallas.

Big Tex portrait
Big Tex Portrait Painter Eric Hanson photo by Chris Waits

Big Tex a Dallas Landmark

“I paint a lot of Dallas landmarks and Big Tex is a fantastic Dallas landmark with a lot of admirers! This is my fifth year going out to Fair Park to paint Big Tex’s portrait. I first decided to do that when I discovered that lots of people made the annual visit to watch him being set up before the start of the Fair, and I thought it would be fun to join them,” Hanson says.

For more information about his work, visit or call 214-728-7058.

Free State Fair Activities

Here are just a few of the free activities included in your ticket prices at this year’s Fair. There are over 100 fun activities featured throughout the fairgrounds. I’m especially excited about the newly revamped Kroger Starlight Parade, created by Kern Studios of New Orleans. It’s always been a highlight of the Fair, and this year’s parade is rumored to be sensational.

Country Roundup puppets
Photo courtesy State Fair of Texas

Family favorite events include Alléz-Oops with Rob and Miss Jane, who waltz on wine bottles, skip on stilts, and even tame the terrifying tiger baby. Catch this new and silly show in the Oak Farms Theater. Another kiddie favorite is Oontz Kids DJ Dance Party at Howdy’s near the Children’s Aquarium, featuring kid DJs from DFW’s DJ school, OontzKids.

Every weekend, Friday through Sunday, the State Fair of Texas Rodeo featuring the finale of the United Professional Rodeo Association in the Fair Park Coliseum. Dallas Mavericks will host an exhibit at the Hall of State called “Mavs Vault,” that highlights the remarkable history of our local NBA team.

The African American Museum displays Facing the Rising Sun: Freedman’s Cemetery. Containing photographs, found objects, and historical documents that provide an insight into a community called Freedman’s Town, now known as Uptown. The Continental DAR House features “Stars and Stripes Forever,” focused on the 245th anniversary of the June 14, 1777 Flag Resolution.

Majesty of the Horse

The Majesty of the Horse returns to showcase equine beauty. Join renowned horseman Jerry Diaz and his family for an intimate presentation displaying the majesty and beauty of the horse. The exhibition includes multiple breeds of horses and showcases their unique color, size, and purpose.

Fiesta puppets
State Fair of Texas photo

Mundo Latino brings “Día de Los Muertos,” celebrating the rich history and significance of the Day of the Dead. This experience will entertain fairgoers and explore the cultural significance of the holiday by featuring art installations and live painting.

Little Big Tex

Showstoppers take over the Hall of State steps again this year. Giant inflatable characters, now including Little Big Tex and Champ, entertain guests of all ages. Country Round-up, the puppet show created exclusively for the State Fair of Texas, returns to the Dr. Pepper Midway Stage with new tricks.

The All-Star Stunt Dog Show returns to Marine Corps Square, offering the world’s first and original “stunt dog show.” Joining the All-Star Stunt Dog Show in Marine Corps Square, the Pig Races make their debut outside this year. Dressed in fetching racing silks, the wiggly piglets run the course four times a day.

pig races
Photo courtesy State Fair of Texas

Strongman Might Mike bends horseshoes and juggles bowling balls and sledgehammers at the Fringe Stage. McDonald’s presents ¡Fiestas de Marionetas!, one of this year’s not-to-miss shows. Surrounded by lights and beautiful landscaping, a small village of more than 85 handmade marionettes come to life to celebrate a fiesta of color, culture, and creativity

Live Music Stages

Three live music stages showcase over 90 acts, with a concert or performance for everyone. The Chevrolet Main Stage will host headlining performances from Trace Adkins, Ashanti, Fitz & The Tantrums, Night Ranger, La Mafia, and more. The Bud Light Stage and Yuengling Stage highlight local and regional acts on the rise. The Yuengling Stage will also feature live stand-up as part of Deep Fried Comedy on Friday nights. See a complete listing of live music at the Fair at

To learn more about activities and entertainment throughout the 2022 Fair, visit

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Jo Ann Holt
Jo Ann Holt is an award-winning journalist with 40+ years of experience as a writer and editor. She loves live performances, from country music concerts to Broadway musicals to community theatre productions. Holt also enjoys art and cultural festivals, and good food and wine. She’s toured Amsterdam, London, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and various cities in Mexico but looks forward to visiting even more countries. She has traveled by boat, plane, and train, but especially likes taking long road trips across the U.S. with her husband, retired history professor Durhl Caussey. They enjoy meeting friendly people, learning about different cultures, and visiting historic sites wherever they go.