Drive-Thru version of State Fair of Texas comes to an end

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The State Fair of Texas' 15-day drive-thru event has come to an end at Fair Park. Tuesday morning, Big Tex was lowered from his place.

"With the creativity and innovation the State Fair of Texas team came up with, we were able to keep the State Fair spirit alive this fall," says the Fair's Karissa Condoianis.

Condoianis says 23,000 cars passed through the drive-thru model over 15 days; 32,000 pictures were taken with Big Tex. She says more than 150,000 people participated in "Fair from Home."

"The Fair is fun," she says. "We knew, when we were creating all these alternatives, we needed to have that throughout the entire run of events we planned. We wanted to provide that for people because 2020 hasn't really been that much fun."

About 2,700 livestock entries were placed in this year's fair. The 72nd Annual Big Tex Youth Livestock Auction raised more than $1 million for young exhibitors. The grand champion steer was sold for $75,000.

Condoianis says, in addition to money raised for youth, the State Fair of Texas also brings in money for education, cultural projects and development in South Dallas. She says 1,350 people attended the Big Tex Job Fair, which was attended by 54 employers and held virtually this year.

Condoianis says many people who live near Fair Park depend on the State Fair of Texas for a substantial amount of their yearly income.

"A lot of people think of our 24 day event, but there's another 341 days where we are working hard to be a good community partner, really to help lift everybody up, not only through the fun you can have out here but through providing jobs, providing opportunities for small businesses."

In a normal year, the State Fair of Texas' run is 24 days. Condoianis says organizers are now planning to welcome fans back for an in-person fair in 2021.

"We'll look back to the 2019 Fair and try to bring up those memories for how we can make next year bigger and better," she says.