Unable to wait for a much-ballyhooed ceremony, the new Big Tex, the rebuilt icon of the State Fair of Texas, was hurriedly unmasked on Thursday; call it a premature exhibition?
The unveiling was originally scheduled for today in a presentation that promised the kind of pomp and circumstance a 60-foot talking puppet deserves. Anticipation was stoked by State Fair officials, who were eager to display the new Big Tex after the original burned in October 2012.
The State Fair described Big Tex's early reveal as a "premature birth."
But keeping the figure hidden proved to be a challenge, according to an email hastily released by the State Fair on Thursday, which blamed the wind, a curtain, tiny munchkins and an evil force out to foil Big Tex. Not really.
"Unfortunately the wind has picked up speed and is negatively impacting the curtain that has been hoisted in place to shield him from public view," said the release, which described it as a "premature birth."
According to fair spokesperson Sue Gooding, the original plan entailed Big Tex, completely surrounded by a hazy curtain, dropping at 2 p.m. on the dot with trumpets and great fanfare. A visit to the fair grounds on Wednesday saw the "Big Tex Circle" podium surrounded by scaffolding and cranes. "We had it planned that two cranes would hold it in place," Gooding says.
As for the new Big Tex, he has a more independent streak. And, well, how do we say this? He's gained some weight.
"He is self-supporting now — unlike the old Big Tex, he does not have guide wires," Gooding says. "And when he left, he was a little less than 6,000 pounds. But he came back 25,000 pounds. He weighs a lot more than when he left."