The Event Professor is in.


Everything is bigger in Texas, or that’s what they say, but it doesn’t quite register until you see a 212 foot ferris wheel rising above the treetops. The State Fair of Texas draws a massive audience of 2.4 million people over 24 days. The combination of sprawling activations, larger-than-life exhibits and traditional fun is a marvelous event experience. Just ask Big Tex.

Fair Park is situated on 277 acres of land so you can wander in virtually any direction and find food, entertainment and attractions. There’s so much to see. I counted more than a dozen special exhibits for fairgoers to explore, including my personal favorites, the “brand new” Taylor Swift Experience and elaborate Bank of America Canstruction exhibit.

All the classic fair activities are available for fun-seekers, including midway rides, carnival games, concerts, animal attractions and obstacle courses.

After the fun and games, be sure to stop at the Auto Show. Featuring an outdoor Truck Zone, this impressive attraction rivals other major city auto shows and is a must-see for truck enthusiasts. Check out the latest pickup models and endless variety of cab/engine configurations.

The activations at the Truck Zone are some of the best in the business. Somehow, I managed to fit in a mechanical bull ride at RAM, skydive via virtual reality at GMC, and take on an intense obstacle course at Nissan all in one morning. After the cardio, I cooled down by taking a brand new Corvette for a spin at the Chevrolet Ride & Drive. Life is all about balance, right?

Event Professor Insight: There’s an observable link between event awesomeness and the number of people who take group shots and selfies to post on social media. The better the event, the more individuals want to share their experience. The State Fair of Texas facilitates social media posting by creating multiple branded photo-zones featuring huge logos or iconic structures (remember Big Tex?).

Looking around, I noticed dozens of people holding selfie sticks or posing in front of attractive sites. I captured a shot of one group posing with Big Tex’s boots in the background. If you look closely at the image of the swing riders, you’ll notice many of them taking selfies. Nothing like free advertising!

Survey Says: Food Rules! Enigma conducted over 1000 post-event surveys and we learned that guests attended for food experiences more than either midway rides or the auto show. Attendees snacked on a variety of aromatic carnival goodies and other food court fare.

It was hard to resist the smell of famous Fletcher’s Corny Dogs. There were cooking competitions, celebrity chefs and an entire building filled with places to eat and drink.

If you’re an event enthusiast, put the State Fair of Texas on your list. It’ll take a full weekend to see all the main attractions as well as the auto and truck show. Don’t forget to sample the corndogs and cotton candy!


Most popular concerts:
Ab Quintanilla

Most popular feature attractions:
Food Court Building
Shopping Areas

Most recalled sponsors:

Most appreciated brand activations:
Kids’ Boardwalk by McDonald’s
Dr. Pepper Tent

Preferred beer brands among attendees:
Dos Equis XX

I have researched 800+ events worldwide and love to share stories. Please contact me if you want to discuss anything from visitor surveys to economic impact to sponsorship ROI measurement.

Want to know more about life as an Enigma researcher? Visit us on Linkedin and Facebook.

Y’all come back now.

Michael, The Event Professor

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Some Events we’ve surveyed:

San Diego County Fair
Vancouver Film Festival
Anime Boston
Lone Star Rally
Red Bull Air Race
Governor’s Ball Music Festival
Miami Auto Show
Toronto Jazz Festival
Detroit NAIAS
NASC Symposium
New York Auto Show
NFL Pro Bowl
International Plowing Match
Montreal Just for Laughs
LA X-Games
ACL Music Festival
Boots and Hearts Music Festival
Nickelodeon SlimeFest
Red Bull Flugtag
Honens International Piano Competition
EDC Las Vegas
Canadian Music Week
Pacific National Exhibition
Chicago Auto Show
Electric Zoo
MTV SnowGlobe Music Festival
Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction
Pro Football Hall of Fame Festival
State Fair of Texas
Orange Bowl
Indianapolis 500
Dublin Irish Festival
Edmonton Fringe Festival
Walt Disney World Florida Classic
Calgary Stampede
Daytona 500
Pride Toronto
WWE Summer Slam
Beyond Wonderland
Pro Football Hall of Fame Festival
US Open of Surfing
Event Marketing Summit
Comedy Central Clusterfest
2012 Final Presidential Debate
Orlando Bowl Week
Shanghai Storm EDM Festival