Thousands of football fans are in North Texas this weekend for the big Texas-OU game.
The State Fair of Texas has played host to the Red River Showdown for more than 90 years. The annual football game between the University of Texas Longhorns and the University of Oklahoma Sooners is back to full capacity at the Cotton Bowl Stadium this year with more than 93,000 expected fans Saturday.
Mary Ann Simcos and Ross Fanning flew from Tennessee for the game on Thursday and plan to stay in Texas until Tuesday. Simcos, a lifelong Longhorns fan, is attending the Red River Showdown in person for the first time.
“We flew in yesterday, so we got here around 8 o’clock in the morning. It was good. We spent the day yesterday at the State Fair. It was awesome,” Simcos said. “We’re both educators in Tennessee and we’re on fall break and I was like, let’s go to the Texas-OU game.”
Like Simcos, University of Oklahoma sophomore Mecca Thompson will be watching the game in person for the first time Saturday.
“Obviously, I go to OU home games but I feel like being here in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl, it’s just completely different. Driving on the highway, we’re seeing the Oklahoma license plates and some of the Texas Longhorns. So, I think it will be a really fun game and a cool experience,” Thompson said. “I’m seeing people that I recognize from campus just walking around.”
According to the Dallas Sports Commission, the flood of fans in Dallas this weekend is expected to bring in more than $32 million. Executive director Monica Paul said the economic boost is welcomed by restaurants and hotels.
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“Red River Showdown is a longstanding tradition here in Dallas, and I think this one is going to be even more important for us this year as we continue to figure out how to navigate through the pandemic,” Paul said. “I’ve already seen the hustle and bustle with Sooner fans here downtown as well as Longhorn fans downtown, so we’re excited for them to not only experience the State Fair and obviously have a great time at the game but also to experience our different entertainment districts here.”
A clear bag policy is in effect for all game attendees. For more information on protocols, click here.