2012 State Fair Nears 2010 Record

Reciepts up $2 million over 2011

The State Fair of Texas -- marked this year by the loss of the towering, cowboy-hat-wearing Big Tex in a fire and the stranding of riders on the Stratosphere -- came close to matching the all-time high spent in previous years on food and amusement rides.

The fair ended Sunday with $36.6 million spent on food and amusement rides. The current record was set in 2010 at $37.3 million. The 2012 amount is $2 million more than the 2011 total.

Additionally, donations to the North Texas Food Bank by fair attendees set a new record with 204,527 pounds of food collected. The food will provide 170,439 meals for North Texans in need.

The fair this year included a Chinese Lantern Festival and an exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts.

On Friday, the 52-foot-tall Big Tex was destroyed by fire due to an electrical malfunction. But officials say Big Tex will be restored and will be back for next year's fair.

Also Friday, 24 Stratosphere riders were stranded for two hours. But fair officials said the ride's safety brakes worked as they were designed and there was no real danger, just inconvenience.

The Stratosphere had other performance issues at fairs in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The State Fair of Texas sent an inspector to those places to see that the issues were resolved before allowing it in Dallas.

As other cleanup goes forward, the Stratosphere ride was still in place at Dallas Fair Park on Monday for additional investigation of Friday's incident.

It takes up to 30 days to tear down the entire fair set up at Dallas Fair Park.

NBC 5's Ken Kalthof contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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