It’s no State Fair of Texas, but the other major fair in this region, the North Texas Fair and Rodeo in Denton, has dreams of expanding.
Fair officials have initial plans drawn for a $70 million, 111-acre site west of Interstate 35 and north of Ganzer Road, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle. The current North Texas Fairgrounds cover a 33-acre area behind a Kroger on University Drive in Denton.
The North Texas Fair and Rodeo has been held there since 1946, Glenn Carlton, the fair's executive director, tells KERA.
The new space would be able to accommodate not only the signature event, Carlton says, but also home and garden shows, RV and boat expositions and more.
Carlton tells the Record-Chronicle the new grounds could be ready by 2023.
About 200,000 people are expected to attend the annual event when it starts on Aug. 17.
On the fair's history
We're in our 90th consecutive year. We've been at the current location (2217 N. Carroll Blvd.) since 1946. It actually goes back even further than that, but the story was that there were some Denton gentlemen, some farmers, some ranchers that were coming to Dallas and they couldn't win. They would come to the State Fair of Texas and year after year, they'd get beat.
So they said, "Well, if we're going to play this game, we'll play our own game," and they started one in Denton. There are stories of it...I'm not sure where it orginated, but one time it was held on the University of North Texas campus and it featured a mule race, and first prize was money, second prize was five gallons of wine. And in those days, a lot of mule jockeys held those mules back wanting to win second place.
On the reason for the expansion
I think, No. 1, it's going to better serve our nonprofit. We are a nonprofit and we contribute about $600,000 back into the community each year. We've got room to grow on the new site. It's very close proximity; we're about a half a mile off I-35, so we have good access to I-35 on the north side of Denton. We have a county road to our south, which is Ganzer, and a county road to our north, which is Milam. So, we'll have access points and there is a good possibility there may be three access points from the service road getting into the new property. Of course, we're still in the planning processes.
On some of the features for the new site
Right now, we're calling it the North Texas Expo Center. The fair is only two weekends out of the year; this facility is being designed to host many equine events, home and garden shows, RV shows, boat shows — you name it. We're in the process. We just signed a contract for a new economic impact study, and we should have some numbers on what it will mean for tourism and what will it mean for economic impact for our community real soon.
Interview responses have been edited for clarity and length.