(Official State Fair of Texas image linked from FrontDoor.com)

During Fair time, my dad likes to call my sister and I and leave
voicemails in the guise of Big Tex.
Explains a lot about my upbringing, no?

Last night marked my last visit to this year's State Fair of Texas, which, for those of you who don't watch Oprah may not know, happens to be the largest state fair in the nation. And this year? It was definitely smaller.

No Budweiser Clydesdale horses.
Fewer giant pigs.
Fewer bunnies.
Fewer vendor booths.
Smaller crowds (except on the day Oprah broadcast live from the main stage).

Obvious signs of economic downturn.

Thankfully, some things remained blissfully the same.

The audience plant still fell in the pond during the Birds of the World Show (sorry for the spoiler).

The fried food selection was still sickeningly large (but the deep fried butter wasn't half bad).
(Have no idea who to credit because the photo was all over Google images.)
Deep Fried Butter--Tasted kind of like a super buttery biscuit.

And the cinnamon rolls? Do you even have to ask? They are still...hands down...my favorite cinnamon treat on the planet. (And those familiar with my love of most things cinnamon know that that is saying quite a lot.)

So, the run down?
4 trips to the fair in an 8 day period. During which I ingested: a giant turkey leg, an order of deep fried pork chips, Golden Chick chicken tenders, 3 slices of pizza, an order of fried pork ribs (with fries), half an order of Jack's Fries, a barbecue sandwich, an order of deep fried butter, 3 glasses of lemonade, 5 bottles of water, a sprite, a frozen Lemon Chill...and 6 cinnamon rolls. Of course, 2 of the cinnamon rolls were taken home for breakfast the day after a visit, but they were purchased with fair coupons, so they count as fair food. (According to fair rules.)

What can I say? There is no moderation in Fair World. You are constantly surrounded by food...and pictures of food...and the smell of food...and people cooking food...and folks giving away samples of food...and fair-goers lining up for food at booths covered in descriptions of food. Food is everywhere, and it is waiting to be eaten and enjoyed by you as you walk down the midway being tempted on one side by the barkers wanting you to pay a dollar to see the world's smallest horse (Tiny Tim) or carnies on the other wanting you to pay two dollars to try to catapult a rubber chicken into a revolving kitchen pot.

Needless to say, I gained about 5 pounds this past week, but that's pretty much par for the Fair course. Besides, I plan on running most of it off during this weekend's Race for the Cure. And Fair pounds are not allowed to count, since they only come once a year. They are like birthday cake or Christmas cookie calories. Besides, you can't count food that is purchased with State Fair coupons! You already burned hundreds of calories standing in line at the damn kiosks to swap your money for the official currency of the State Fair of Texas.

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly those coupons seem to disappear out of your pocket. Magic really. One minute you have $100 cash. You stand in line for a bit and suddenly you have no cash, but you have 10 sheets of blue coupons. You stand in line a little longer and before you know it you have no coupons...but you are holding an nearly empty cup of lemonade and are searching for a napkin to mop the remnants of fried butter off your chin. And the whole time you've got this stupid, almost childlike grin on your face.

See what I mean? Magic.

Or perhaps an altered mental state brought on by the onslaught of country music being piped all over the fair grounds.

It's a toss up.