Facing Fears, Indulging at the Texas State Fair

Me and my college roommate eating at the state fair.
Julia and I look a little fearful of the fried food.

Chocolate-covered strawberry waffle balls. S’mores. Chocolate truffles. Jelly Belly beans. Peanut butter and jelly. Grilled cheese. A banana split.

All deep fried.

Either the thought of this makes you want to indulge in the gooey goodness of it all, or it makes you want to hurl. I fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

I hardly ever eat fried food, except for an occasional order of French fries. But as I learned this weekend, there’s no excuse for not eating greasy treats at the Texas State Fair. Practically everywhere you look, there are fried food stands tempting passerby to indulge.

While my roommate from college, Julia, munched on a corny dog (they’re called “corny dogs” in Texas, not corn dogs), I waited in line at a stand that was selling fried snowballs, fried Snickers and fried Oreos. I went for the Oreos — three greasy, gooey, chocolaty Oreos nestled in a ball of batter, to be exact. They were gross, but at the same time so good.

Since I had eaten fried Oreos, I figured I might as well do something else I normally don’t do – ride a ferris wheel. I hadn’t been on a ferris wheel for about 10 years, mainly because I’m afraid of heights. But as I watched little kids waiting in line wearing smiles, I told myself it couldn’t be all that bad. Why not face my fear by riding the largest ferris wheel in North America?

I conquered my fear of heights by riding the largest ferris wheel in North America.
I faced my fear of heights by riding the largest ferris wheel in North America.

I stepped inside the little cage that would take us to the top and grabbed onto Julia’s hand, keeping my eyes closed like a child. When I was younger, I’d scream “Stop the ride!” whenever I got scared. But there was no screaming on this ride.

As we approached the top, I opened my eyes and admired the view. I actually liked being 212 feet above ground and seeing the state fair from a different perspective. It wasn’t nearly as frightening as I thought it’d be. Now all I need to do is go on my first roller coaster!

While at the fair I also got my handwriting analyzed. According to a handwriting analysis machine, my signature suggests that:

–I like to daydream and I have a vivid imagination.

–I tend to procrastinate on routine projects.

–I have a retentive memory for things that are important but am forgetful of minor details.

— I have good taste and dislike anything that is cheap and gaudy.

–I have definite goals.

–I worry too much about things I can’t change.

–I am strong-willed and have very definite ideas regarding most things in life.

–I sometimes enjoy being a nonconformist.

–I have the ability to negotiate or talk people into my way of thinking.

I’d say that’s a pretty good assessment, actually.

For a girl who was born and raised in Massachusetts and who had never been to a state fair before, the Texas State Fair lived up to the hype. I’d go back a second time, but probably not a third or fourth. The fair is expensive and not all that good for the arteries. It’s worth at least one trip, though, for the fried Oreos. I wonder what those fried s’mores and chocolate-covered strawberry waffle balls taste like …

What do you like to do/see at the Texas state fair, or at state fairs in general?

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Poynter.org. Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at mjtenore@gmail.com.

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