The padlocks came off the gates at 10 a.m. Friday as the 2013 State Fair of Texas opened in Dallas with food, festivities and football.
The State Fair of Texas held a dedication ceremony for Big Tex Friday afternoon.
Shortly after 2 p.m., fairgoers got to hear the state fair icon speak for the first time since his big reveal Thursday. High winds forced organizers to pull the curtain Thursday afternoon, one day ahead of schedule.
Big Tex became an instant conversation topic.
"I think he looks a little darker and his chest isn't as big," Kristi Coleman said.
Others said they couldn't decide if he looked older or younger.
But everyone agreed on his voice.
"I think it sounds just like Big Tex," Scott Coleman said.
The State Fair of Texas isn't revealing who is behind the big voice or how many people applied for the job.
After the announcement, Big Tex spoke again, reminding people about the ribbon-cutting later in the afternoon and the Starlight Parade, but his lips didn't move. Fair officials said it was a little hiccup with the new technology, assuring fairgoers Big Tex works just fine and will hopefully be free of hiccups for the remainder of the fair.
The new Big Tex replaces the previous model that burned toward the end of last year's fair. He is bigger and better than ever, weighing 19,000 pounds more, which brings him to 25,000 pounds. He's 3 feet taller and now stands 55 feet tall. Big Tex can also withstand 100 mph winds, making him ready for any Texas weather.
His new duds created by Dickies and a smart pair of boots from Lucchese instantly drew attention. The boots are decorated with artwork, including designs of the Texas and American flags, the State Capitol, bluebonnets, longhorns and other Lone Star State-inspired icons seen on the sides.
On the main stage, the Western swing band "Asleep At The Wheel" performs for free Friday night.
In the Fair Park stadium, Army plays Louisiana Tech in college football Saturday afternoon. Grambling State and Prairie View A&M have their annual encounter Oct. 5, while Oklahoma takes on Texas on Oct. 12 in the Red River Rivalry football matchup.
Fried food fans have a lot to look forward to as the State Fair opens as well. Two new "Big Tex Choice Award" winners will hit the stands for attendees to try.
A deep-fried Cuban roll filled with chopped ham, pork shoulder, cheese and pickles drew "Best Taste" honors at the State Fair of Texas' fried-food contest.
Meanwhile, the three-judge panel for the Big Tex Choice Awards chose to give its "Most Creative" honors to a Thanksgiving dinner of stuffing, turkey and cream corn rolled into a ball and deep fried.
The 127th annual State Fair of Texas' theme this year is "The One and Only."
NBC 5's Amanda Guerra and Eric King contributed to this report.