State Fair of Texas

Grambling and Prairie View Fans Prepare for State Fair Classic's Return

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At the heart of Fair Park, in one of the city's oldest sports venues, you'll find one of the State Fair’s most cherished traditions.

The State Fair Classic, a rivalry between Grambling State University and Prairie View A&M brings fans from far and wide. But it holds a special place in the hearts of both schools' DFW-based alumni, both of which have active associations with chapter presidents eager to see the tradition return.

"Just seeing the whole gamut of the cheerleaders, the band, the, you know, the cheering of the crowd, just all of that,” said President of the Dallas Prairie View A&M Alumni Association Lalonni Hagerman.

Last year’s game was first postponed due to the pandemic and then relocated when it was able to resume come spring.

"You know, you don't know what you have until it's gone, and you miss it. So missing the Cotton Bowl last year in the spring, it was like, 'Oh, wow. We want to go back to the Cotton Bowl.' So now that we are, girl, people are coming in droves,” said GUNAA Metro DFW Chapter President Cathy Conwright.

Those who do will get to see one of their own, Dallas native Candace Hawthorne make history as only the second woman ever to lead Grambling's world-famed tiger marching band onto the field.

"It took a lot of hard work. It took a lot of hard work. But it's really, truly an honor for me. And it's still mind-blowing to me. Like I have to make sure this is all real life for me,” said Hawthorne.

While fans on both sides will tell you they’re most looking forward to a win, the opportunity to come together in a place they have so many times before is reason to celebrate.

Saturday’s kickoff is at 4:00 p.m.

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