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

This week’s takeaways: State Fair edition

Lots of groups are looking to raise some money this weekend, from the Dallas Bears holding a poker tourney that benefits AIN on Saturday at The Brick. to a fundraiser for the Mr. Texas Leather Travel Fund on Sunday at the Dallas Eagle. But you don’t have to do go — in fact, you might wanna get a little naughty.

Trans porn star Buck Angel is one of the guests at this weekend’ Beyond Vanilla, the 22nd weekend of kink. That takes place at the host hotel, Downtown’s Crowne Plaza, this weekend; then starting on Thursday, the hotel turns over but continues to stay gay with the opening of Dallas Southern Pride. It begins with the B/HAP conference and the Ms. Dallas Southern Pride pageant.

For something less kinky but no less edgy, check out the Dallas VideoFest at the Dallas Museum of Art all weekend, which boasts a substantial gay video program, including a documentary about the Beat Generation, including Alan Ginsberg and his lover Peter Orlofsky, pictured.  Or cross the Arts District to see gay choreographer Doug Varone’s new recital at the Winspear, or the final weeks of The Second City Does Dallas at the Wyly.

Of course, the State Fair commences today, but if you can wait until Tuesday, you can also see the opening night of The Addams Family, this year’s State Fair musical. (And this just in: The Lexus Broadway series will include The Book of Mormon for its 2013–14 season; dates will be announced in January.)

Finally, we started a new weekly online-only advice column this week, Tex’n the City. Check it out.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

State Fair of Texas closes today

So long, Big Tex

Today is your last day to get in that Fletcher’s corny dog, ride the Texas Star or see the pig races. The time has come and today the State Fair closes taking a little piece of heart with it. Of course, it’s leaving the calories behind, but they were oh-so worth it.

DEETS: Fair Park, 1121 First Ave. $13.95. BigTex.com.

—  Rich Lopez

‘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

State Fair of Texas opens today

You had us at ‘howdy,’ Big Tex

When the Food Choice Awards rolled out fried bubblegum as the Most Creative winner, we weren’t immediately on board. Yes, we know it’s a marshmallow that tastes like gum, but do we get to stick it under our ferris wheel seat when we’re done? Sure, we’ll try it, but the Best Taste winner Buffalo chicken in a flapjack rings like heaven in our ears. Welcome back, State Fair.

DEETS: Fair Park, 1121 First Ave. Through Oct. 23. $13.95. BigTex.com.

—  Rich Lopez

The State Fair taunts our arteries with these fried items named as Big Tex Choice finalists

Come Labor Day, we’ll know which fried piece of delish will end up on our must-eat list for this year’s State Fair. For now, we only get to know which items are in the running for legendary status as the Fair released the finalists for the 2010 Big Tex Choice Awards. These eight items of various oiled and battered degrees could be a part of your indulgences as you head out to visit Big Tex this year.

Deep Fried S’mores Pop Tart – This could be a little too rich for me. I don’t think I could dole out three bucks of coupons for a Pop Tart but I am intrigued, especially from the looks of that pic above.

Deep Fried Frozen Margarita – This sounds like all kinds of wrong. What would Mariano Martinez say?

Fernie’s Fried Club Salad – I’m surprised it’s taken this long for the salad to go under. However, I just can’t picture this one, nor do I really want to.

Fried Beer – I only have this to say.

Fried Chocolate – YES!

Fried Lemonade – Seriously, people? What the hell? Fried lemonade? I’m gonna start working on my Fried Slurpee recipe.

Texas Fried Caviar – What better way to make a fancy food pedestrian? The saltiness of roe could be good, but I’m not sure I want to bite into an oozing mess of eggs.

Texas Fried Frito Pie – Dear God. Please let this win. And if not this, then the fried chocolate. Amen.

The Big Tex Choice Awards happens Sept. 6 at The Dock but is not open to the general public. Don’t worry. I’ll stay on top of it. Just don’t tell Trainer Daddy.

—  Rich Lopez