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Texas State Fair gets a makeover: New attractions, even crazier food and a pumped up music fest promised

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Big Tex, State Fair of Texas
Big Tex welcomes fairgoers starting September 26. Photo by Marc Lee

Every year the State Fair of Texas puts a unique spin on the proceedings, with a different theme and new attractions. For 2014, the most noticeable change is a renewed emphasis on Texas, y'all.

In case the 55-foot talking cowboy weren't enough of a clue, the "Texification" of the fair includes a 30-by-50-foot Texas flag flying just below the Top o' Texas Tower, banners and other signage around the fairgrounds boasting Texas pride, and new Texas-themed floats and music in the nightly Starlight Parade.

 Animal lovers also have more to enjoy thanks to the Wild West Pet Palooza in the Fair Park Band Shell. 

Also new for 2014 is the Mattress Firm Music Fest, starring Texas country music sensations Randy Rogers Band and the Josh Abbott Band, along with Easton Corbin and Jerrod Niemann. The fest takes places inside the Cotton Bowl on Saturday, Oct. 18, and tickets include fair admission.

The music fest is in addition to the the free concerts on the Chevy Main Stage. Speaking of which, the audience can expect to be more comfortable this year, thanks to turf installed in front of the stage, as opposed to the hard pavement of past years.

For food enthusiasts, there's a new cooking contest in which participants prepare and cook a main dish, dessert and bread in a three-pot Dutch oven. As part of its philanthropic efforts, the State Fair is partnering with Canstruction to showcase cans of food as architecture. The cans will be donated to the North Texas Food Bank and Tarrant County Food Bank after the fair.

Animal lovers also have more to enjoy thanks to the Wild West Pet Palooza in the Fair Park Band Shell. The show, created especially for the State Fair by Joel Slaven, features animals that have been rescued from shelters all over the United States.

A new area near Leonhardt Lagoon, the Kids' Boardwalk, offers several free interactive activities for kids, including a Ronald McDonald show, pumpkin painting, games, photo opportunities and more.

To capitalize on World Cup excitement, Mundo Latino presents the new exhibit Fútbol Soccer, A Look at the World's Sport. It explores the history of soccer and why it's so popular around the world.

And don't forget the millions of lights that were installed around Fair Park for this summer's Fair Park Sparks, a bright sight that most fairgoers will be witnessing for the first time.

Season passes, tickets and coupons to the State Fair of Texas, which runs Sept. 26 through Oct. 19, are now on sale at BigTex.com. Discounts apply until Aug. 31.

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