It’s everyone’s least favorite tradition. After a night of blackout debauchery, your ass wakes up to some shrill alarm on the floor of some hotel room you and the boys booked for “four” people, just five hours after getting back from the bars (assuming you didn’t detour). It’s 7 AM, you are hungover as shit and need to cram in a shower and pregame all with enough time to make it to the Fair.
Once you get there, after a few delays from that one straggler who takes an hour to get ready, there’s hardly time to grab a wax cup beer before kickoff. So you go into the Cotton Bowl. Once you finish the emotional roller coaster that is The Shootout, there is no energy left in your body to do anything else. Between dealing with the heat and the super hangover that has formed, your options are basically go get food and nap. On top of that, most Shootout Saturday nights don’t survive the postgame lull.
Thankfully, this season is different. Joe Castiglione and the powers that be have graced us with the rare and mythical 2:30 PM kickoff. This changes the game; now you don’t have to skip the pregame to get everything out of your State Fair experience. The State Fair of Texas is one of the great wonders of college football. However, you need to know how to do the fair right to maximize your time. Here’s what you need to know, from a dork that usually wakes up at 6 AM to make sure he makes the Fair.
The first thing and most important to know about the Fair is none of the vendors accept cards or cash. What you’ll need instead are Coupons, these weird little tickets sold in massive strips. Each coupon is worth 50 cents, so you’ll want to load up. For example, one beer is worth 12 Coupons, so don’t worry if you feel like you overbought. If anyone is trying to give any extras, take that shit. Even if you don’t use them, Coupons roll over annually so you can save for next year, if you play your cards right. If you want, you can even go ahead and get some right now and skip the line.
While some of the most insane food creations in the world can be found here, let me implore you to skip the temptation of items like the Funnel Cake Bacon Queso burger. The best food item here is the Fletcher’s Corny Dog. Now, the Corny Dog is not to be confused with the generic, average corn dogs found throughout the Fair. This piece of heaven on a stick has been around for 75 years and is, hands down, the greatest food item I can think of right now. The lines are long, but missing out on this experience would leave your OU-Texas weekend incomplete. The main Fletcher’s stand is right under Big Tex, the massive talking cowboy statue that’s impossible to miss, but there are plenty around Fair Park with shorter lines. Price: 12 Coupons
Update: Beer prices vary, but there is one mythical stand with 6 Coupon beers. You can get Coors Banquet, Coors Light, Miller Lite, PBR and Lone Star. You should be able to find it here on the map.
Now, once you’ve had your Corny Dog, you have one or two options for the rest of your Coupons. Either spend them on beer (my personal call) or try out some of the more exotic food options. Such as the aforementioned Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger. This burger won Big Tex Choice Awards for Most Creative and Best Taste in the Savory category. I think the name and photo speaks for itself. Price: 24 Coupons
If you aren’t into the above cardiac nightmare described above, there are plenty of other great options. The Best Taste winner in the Sweet Category is an alcoholic fishbowl with Nerds and Swedish Fish that looks vastly better than the ones on Bourbon Street. The price is steep as hell, so personally i’d lean towards downing some cheaper wax cup beers. Price: 24 Coupons.
There are several other solid looking options on the Big Tex Choice Awards list, all of which mapped out on this Google Map from GuideLive.com.
What To See and Do:
There are tons of Fair things to see and do here, most of them you can do at any fair. Whatever you want to do is your choice, but there are a few solid moves that I endorse. If you have are an obnoxious beer snob like myself, check out the Magnolia Beer Garden. This place has an expansive selection of beer from across Texas and the world. If you want to attempt to look cultured to your girlfriend/group of friends, head over to the Wine Garden, which features over 40 wineries from the State of Texas.
If you want to stick to wax cup Coors Light, more power to you. There are attractions for those that don’t want to just drink, but hey, that’s not me. The Texas Star, a 200+ foot ferris wheel that ranks as the third largest in the nation, is a trip that could be pretty cool. But I’d prefer to spend my time on the ground and drinking.
After the game, legendary Texas country artist Pat Green will be performing a free concert at 8:30. This could be important to some (@ Mike Bussow), but with the show starting so late, it probably won’t be an option for too many as it cuts into bar time.