Can the State Fair Survive?

The scene is familiar: carnival rides, corn dogs, butter sculptures and bake-offs. But, attendance is down at American state fairs, raising questions about the whether the tradition can survive.

Guests:

Abel Gonzales, a contestant in the Texas State Fair "Big Tex Choice Awards" food contest

Rich Knebal, a cow birther

Arthur Grace, photographer and author of the book State Fair

Sarah Pratt, special education teacher; does butter sculpture, recently showed at the Iowa State Fair

Juggler

hide caption(Richmond), 1992: Juggler with balls in mouth mugs for audience during performance.

From STATE FAIR by Arthur Grace, Copyright . Courtesy of the University of Texas Press.
Corn Dog

hide captionState Fair of Texas (Dallas), 2003: Competitor in State Fair Corny Dog Contest wolfs down another corny dog in allotted time.

From STATE FAIR by Arthur Grace, Copyright . Courtesy of the University of Texas Press.
Tex

hide captionState Fair of Texas (Dallas), 2004: Standing 52 feet tall and wearing a 75-gallon cowboy hat, "Big Tex" greets visitors to the fairgrounds

From STATE FAIR by Arthur Grace, Copyright . Courtesy of the University of Texas Press.

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