What’s Doing in Dallas
Following yet another sweltering summer (as I am writing this, it’s 97° F/36° C), Dallas, Texas is preparing for two very welcome events: cooler temperatures and the State Fair of Texas.
The State Fair of Texas, which runs from September 26 through October 19, has taken place in Dallas every year since 1886, with the exception of two short hiatuses during the First and Second World Wars. It occupies a 277-acre (112-hectare) park complete with Art Deco buildings that date back to the 1936 Centennial. The mascot of the State Fair is Big Tex, a 55-foot (17-meter) tall cowboy with a hinged jaw that makes it look as if he is speaking when fair announcements are made. He received national coverage when, after burning down in 2012, the figure was rebuilt for the 2013 fair.
The city itself is a blend of cowboy culture and big-city life, with restaurants offering racks of barbecued ribs vying for patrons with those offering Continental fare.
Dallas was settled in 1841 by John Neely Bryan, a Presbyterian farmer, and officially became a city in 1856 about a decade after the annexation of Texas by the United States. The city quickly became a booming center of commerce and industry by the end of the 19th century, due largely to its prominence in the oil, cotton, and leather industries, as well as the construction of railroads during the period of westward expansion.
Today, Dallas is a major center for the banking, technology, healthcare, medical research, and transportation industries, and the area boasts of numerous Fortune 500 companies. Dallas is also home to the headquarters of American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Envoy Air, as well as Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, whose annual volume of passenger traffic has led many to think of the city as one large airport.
The Dallas metropolitan area, which includes the neighboring city of Fort Worth, is the fourth largest in the United States with a population of over 6.5 million people. The area also enjoys the sixth largest economy in the country with a real GDP of $420 billion.