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UPDATE: State Fair Of Texas Rakes In $37 Million In Sales, A Near Record

Visitors to this year’s State Fair of Texas spent $37.2 million on food, amusement rides and other fun.

That made for a strong year, and better than last year, but just short of the 2010 record of $37.3 million.
The fair does not release attendance figures, but the final weekend seemed to be especially strong. A parade Sunday night that traditionally helps end the fair had to be canceled due to the large crowds. Some vendors even ran out of food over the weekend. That might have made up for several rainy days earlier in the month.

The top day for food and beverage sales occurred on Oct. 12 with sales of $2.8 million. The top coupon-grossing day in State Fair history was on Saturday -- $3.7 million.

Fair officials expected this year’s fair to attract large crowds to catch the return of Big Tex, who burned down in an electrical fire at the end of the 2012 fair.

Sue Gooding, the fair spokeswoman, says Big Tex will be dismantled Tuesday and stored on the fairgrounds until next year.

Nearly 125,000 visitors stopped by the "Life & Times of Big Tex" exhibit at the Hall of State, fair officials said.

Fair patrons donated nearly 195,000 pounds of canned goods for the North Texas Food Bank, translating to about 162,000 meals.

And fairgoers ate up plenty of new fried foods. More than 50,000 people ate the new Deep Fried Thanksgiving Dinner, while 72,000 Deep Fried Cuban Rolls were served. Both items won at this year's Big Tex Choice Awards for best new fair food.

Next year's fair is only 11 months away: It starts Sept. 26.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.