Texas Living

How to Throw a Texas State Fair at Home

By Erin Fornoff 9.28.20

This peculiar year, we’ve missed so many touchstones of Texas culture — and the State Fair is a big one. That’s why we’ve put together a few ideas for recreating the Texas State Fair in your own home.

Build-a-Big Tex

The real Big Tex might not fit in your at-home state fair, but a replica might! Challenge your kids to build Big Tex using mannequins, doll clothes, construction paper, or cardboard cutouts. The bigger the better!

at home state fair

Bobbing for Apples

This one is simple. It only requires water, a dozen apples, and a large tank or bucket. Fill the tank or bucket with water and set the kids loose picking up apples — remember, no hands allowed! Make it more interesting by marking a few apples for special prizes.

Rainbow Bottle Knock

Collect a dozen old plastic soda bottles, remove the labels, and fill them with water. Add a few drops of different food coloring to each. Set these up on a ledge or the end of a picnic table and give the kids three tennis balls. They each get three tries to knock over the bottles. The different colors signify different prizes, such as candy, small toys, or tickets that can be redeemed for other rewards.

at home state fair

Kids’ Arts & Crafts Contest

Add some friendly competition to the evening by holding a creative contest. Categories might include best painting, drawing, sewing, or any other crafts your family enjoys. Cast votes for the favorites, and give out blue ribbons to the winners!

at home state fair food

Corn Dogs

The State Fair isn’t Texan if it doesn’t have fried food! Here’s the recipe your at-home state fair needs.

1 package (12 oz.) regular hot dogs, or 1 package cocktail sausages
Lollipop sticks or wooden skewers
1 cup corn meal
3/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil for frying

Boil the hotdogs according to package instructions. Cool and dry completely. Place lollipop sticks or skewers into the ends of the hotdogs, at least 2 inches deep. Set aside oil and combine remaining ingredients to make the batter; let sit for 30 minutes. Use this time to heat at least 1 inch of oil. Dip your dogs into the batter immediately before frying, then drop them into the hot oil and fry until golden. Remove with tongs and set on paper towels to drain. Serve with ketchup, mustard, and probably some napkins.

at home state fair food
Imani Chet Lytle

Oreo Sprinkle Ice Cream Sandwiches

10 Oreo cookies
3 cups vanilla ice cream (or your favorite flavor)
Sprinkles (colored like the Texas state flag!)

Using a knife, remove the Oreo filling and put iit n a bowl. Mix the filling with the ice cream of your choice and refill the cookie sandwiches. Place sprinkles on a flat baking tray and roll the edge of your sandwiches so the sprinkles stick to the ice cream. Freeze for 30 minutes and serve.

DIY Outdoor Games

Cornhole, ladder toss, and the hook-and-ring game are a few other Texas classics. Check out our guide on building some DIY outdoor games, perfect for including in your carnival fun.

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