A positive parking experience at State Fair

It’s that time of year again: Big Tex is waving welcome to Texas State Fair visitors and the smell of corny dogs and funnel cakes fills the air. Of course, one of the biggest headaches about going to the fair is navigating traffic to get there, and finding a — safe and legal — parking space. Well, here are some hints and advice from the city of Dallas on the parking side of that equation.

The first things to remember is that just because somebody is standing there with a flag, waving you into a “parking area” for a relatively small fee, that doesn’t mean you should park there. For one thing, not all those folks have permits, and some are even charging fairgoers to park on “their” property, even though it isn’t actually their property.

bigtex2014City officials said that on opening day last Friday, Fair Parking Service representatives visited every location in the area with a permit to host parking “to make them aware of what they are authorized to do, educate the onsite supervisors of the dos and don’ts” and to tell them about the “three-strike enforcement process. Anyone operating illegally will receive citations immediately.”

City Parking Services representatives will be issuing criminal citations to people operating parking lots without a permit “inside and outside the crown area, two streets out” from the fairgrounds. “The goal is,” city officials said, “to discourage individuals who flag people onto vacant lots or the parking lots of closed establishments without permission to use the property. This situation has resulted in some unknowing fairgoers having their cars towed by the property owner.”

If you go to the fair and decide to parking somewhere outside the fairgrounds, make sure that you park at a lot displaying “the mandatory placard” in the correct colors, which this year means an orange sign with blue writing. I am going to suggest that if the sign is obviously handwritten, it probably isn’t genuine.

“Any location not displaying this placard or not displaying a placard at all is not an authorized location. Parking at any of thee locations could result in a vehicle possibly being towed,” city officials warned.

Here are the general guidelines permitted parking locations are required to follow:

• They can’t charge more than 150 percent of what fairground lots charge.

• They have to have the fee they charge for parking posted in a conspicuous place, written in letters at least 5 inches high.

• They can’t charge you more than their sign says they charge.

• They have to have a Fair Park Parking permit to charge a fee to park cars “inside the crown area” (the two street perimeter).

• The supervising attendant must be present any time cars are parked on the lot. That means when people are getting there to park, and all the way through to the time the last car parked there leaves.

• The supervising attendant must  be “wearing and displaying” their city-issued permit ID.

So there you have — the rules to park at the State Fair. Go. Park safely. And enjoy your corny dog.

—  Tammye Nash

Of Madonna and Big Tex

Oct. 19, 2012, may we be considered Dallas’ Black Friday — or at least, Blackened Friday.

The day began with the surprising news that Big Tex, the animatronic corporate logo for the State Fair of Texas (the Fair’s website is even BigTex.org), caught fire and burned up faster than a joint in Snoop Dogg’s trailer. Pictures of the flamer (I knew it!) became the latest meme to dominate Facebook; news sourced from as far away as the BBC reported on it.

Then, less than 12 hours later, came more devastating news: Madonna was canceling the first of her two concerts at American Airlines Center. I was at an event with tons of gay folks, and the news spread faster … well, faster than flames over Big Tex.

How much can one community be expected to endure?!?!

The thing is, neither of these event is, really, such a big deal. Oohhhh, Madonna has laryngitis; it happens. She still performed last night (and, by all accounts, was fully recovered) and so many of her fans still got what they wanted. And Big Tex? Well, the fair was almost over anyway, and while the majority of the skeleton may have been around for 60 years, it was, in the end, a badly dressed scaffolding with a loudspeaker in his chest. It was not, in the end, a tragedy of any sort.

So why were people acting as if both of them were?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Gay Day’ at the State Fair is Saturday

The Texas State Fair is back, and fried food, vomit-inducing rides (not necessarily in that order) and live music make the annual event appeal to both young and the young at heart. The DART Green Line makes accessing the fair a breeze and in no time you’ll be experiencing the funsies of the fair once again.

But if you’re up for an event that attracts hundreds of queers to partake in shenanigans (and who isn’t?), then make sure to get down to the fair this Saturday to enjoy the unofficial Gay Day at the Texas State Fair.

The plan is to meet at “Big Tex” (the giant cowboy with the flat butt) from noon to 12:30 p.m. as a community and then break off to strut the fair. To recognize your fellow LGBT brethren and to support anti-bullying campaigns and National Coming Out Day (which is Tuesday), make sure to don a purple shirt (or just wear a bunch of rainbow-themed accessories).

For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.

—  admin

Thankfully someone took it upon themselves to declare Gay Day at the State Fair — Oct. 9

Big Tex loves his gays.

Last year, people were asking us about gay day at the State Fair, but we were as much in the dark. When Big Tex started rolling around this year, we were bracing ourselves for the inquiries. And then Facebook saved the day — or rather, Mike Weaver did.

Weaver, who hails from Watauga, started the Gay Day at the State Fair Facebook event to begin getting a consensus on when it should be. Of course, one date wasn’t going to make everyone happy, but he made the final decision to say that Saturday, Oct. 9 is the day. I say it’s not such a bad day to pick. It doesn’t compete with LifeWalk on Sunday and is two days shy of National Coming Out Day on Monday. He proposes that LGBT peeps wear colors of the rainbow and meet at noon at Big Tex.

Although he didn’t make it out last year, Weaver wanted to be part of the community coming together. “We can show people who are GLBT that it is OK to step out of the box and be with your fellow GLBTs and supporters. Maybe this could be a day for people who stay in because there scared to get them to come have fun.”

I’m there. That is if I can break away from the just close-enough Belgian waffle stand.

—  Rich Lopez

Gay top 10 reasons to head to the State Fair


In case you hadn’t heard, the State Fair opens today. We can understand if you’re on the fence about going. Even though the new DART Green Line makes it easier to get there, we hear some of the prices have gone up. It’s a tough balance.

But it’s the Fair! Come on!

That didn’t work? Well, some colleagues and I mulled over reasons why you should head over there between now and Oct. 18. Behold our gay top 10 reasons to go to the State Fair of Texas.

—  Rich Lopez