State Fair of Texas Prepares for Opening Day With Old Favorites and New Projects

On a 93° day, Sharon BuMann was putting on her winter boots, leggings, hat, and gloves. For 23 years, she's sculpted butter into high calorie, masterpiece art.

"One year I didn't do it for some crazy reason, I can't remember why," BuMann said. "There was a lot of controversy."

On Tuesday she was getting this year's butter sculpture, made from 1,000 pounds of butter, ready for its unveiling on opening day.

In 2013, BuMann's State Fair of Texas butter sculpture made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. It was 4,077 pounds of butter.

State Fair food is not known for being healthy, but in the shadow of the Texas Star ferris wheel, the Big Tex Urban Farms greenhouse is growing vegetables to help feed the South Dallas neighborhood.

On Tuesday the Fair announced a partnership with South Dallas community groups and DART to bring a garden and distribution system to a stop on DART's green line. The effort to bring healthy food to what has long been a food desert is called the Hatcher Street Station Project.

"There's nothing like that in the U.S. That's what makes this really exciting," State Fair of Texas Vice President of Brand Experience Jason Hays said. "The Fair is just a 24-hour fundraiser for those initiatives and the 341 days Big Tex is on vacation."

An exhibit that has been on hiatus is coming back this year. Soar is a bird exhibit that puts rare birds, in flight and singing, center stage.

"We use that sort of as a vehicle for an inspirational conservation message," Steve Martin of Soar said.

The State Fair of Texas opens its gates on Friday for a 24-day run.

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