More than a million people are expected to return to Dallas Fair Park this year for the first full return of the State Fair of Texas since 2019.
Workers, contractors and vendors are putting the finishing touches on getting the fairgrounds, food booths, games and rides ready to welcome back the crowds.
“The state fair is tradition for a lot of families coming out here. We did the drive-thru last year – it wasn’t the same as having a big fair,” said Rusty Fitzgerald, the fair's senior vice president of operations.
Part of the challenge this year has been the supply chain.
“It’s harder to get products. Like for our game merchandise – little stuff like balloons or hacky sacks that we throw to bust the balloons,” Fitzgerald said. “Some of those are more challenging.”
Fitzgerald said the State Fair of Texas was able to find $1.2 million worth of stuffed animals for the popular Midway.
“We’re going to give them all away during the fair,” he said.
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Food vendors have also faced supply chain struggles.
“The hard thing is masks – because all of our team members will be wearing masks. Gloves have been a real challenge,” Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que co-owner Juan Reaves said.
Reaves said paper goods have also presented a challenge.
“Finding takeout plates was like the toilet paper situation in the beginning of the pandemic. We are struggling to find those types of products,” Reaves explained.