This is the 2nd anniversary of the new BIG TEX 2.0 at the State Fair of Texas at Fair Park in Dallas.
Big Tex was originally built as the largest Santa Claus in the world in 1949. Howell Brister’s idea for a 50 foot Santa was used as an attraction to increase the economy.
Santa was displayed in the city of Kerens for only two years. Brister brought his offer to James Stewart and R.L. Thornton at the State Fair office and the $750 Santa would be reborn as a 52 foot Cowboy the following year.
Big Tex debuted with a 75 gallon hat size 70 boots and a paper mache head. He would undergo several changes along way, including a jaw and an arm that moves with a speaker in his head to allow him to greet the state fair guests with his famous “Howdy Folks”. He got a fiber-glass head in the 1950’s and new clothes every 3 years. During the last week of the fair in October 2012 Big Tex caught on fire. The fire was caused by a faulty electric panel below him in the vault, and he was destroyed before on lookers within minutes. Big Tex had been an important fixture of the State Fair since 1952. The publicity of “Tex on Fire” motivated officials to rebuild and improve.
The new Big Tex 2.0 was ready for the 2013 State Fair season; he naturally is bigger and better. He now stands at 55 feet and is strong enough to handle 100 mph winds without guide wires. He is structurally sound enough to put triple axles under and tow like a trailer. He is now about half the height of the Statue of Liberty (111.5 ft). He is more proportionate with a larger posterior. He weighs in at 25,000 pounds including the 130 pounds of shirt, 100 pounds of jeans and 1800 pounds of boots. His clothes were provided by Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company. His boots are Lucchese Texas State Boots, of which you can buy your own pair to wear for $10,000, his are 10 and a half feet long.
Whether you prefer the original Big Tex or 2.0, he will always be the biggest icon for the State Fair of Texas.