Top ways to ignite your sense at the State Fair

The State Fair of Texas returns to Dallas blending traditional fair festivities with out-of-the-ordinary experiences that keep both Texans and out-of-state visitors coming back each year. Students and faculty can experience it at a $2 discount if they purchase tickets from the Information Desk in the Brown-Lupton University Union. The fair runs from Monday to Oct. 19. Times and dates are subject to change. Check the State Fair of Texas Web site for updates.

Listen to the Music

The outdoor Chevrolet Main Stage will kickoff opening night with Lady Antebellum at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 26. Other music highlights on the Main Stage are Rodney Atkins, 8:30 p.m. Oct. 3; Kellie Pickler, 5:30 p.m. Oct. 5; Kevin Fowler, 8:30 p.m. Oct. 11; Jessica Simpson, 8:30 p.m. Oct. 17; and Michelle Branch, 8:30 p.m. Oct. 18. The concerts are free with fair admission.

Marvel at Spectacle Performers

Family troupe the Nerveless Nocks will perform stunts for crowds daily in Gateway Plaza. Parts of the daredevil show have been handed down in the Nock family for 168 years, according to FunWorld Magazine. In 1954, the family performed before Queen Elizabeth II, who deemed them “simply nerveless,” giving them their name. The Sultan of Oman was added to the family’s list of notable audience members last year, according to the Wisconsin Dells Events. This act includes motorcycle tricks inside the Globe of Thunder and balancing tricks on 80-foot poles. Weekdays the performances are noon, 2 and 4 p.m. An extra 6 p.m. show is scheduled for weekends.

First time fair performers Domino Dan and Mike Harrington will create dazzling designs by day and demolish them by night. While they are separate entertainers, they share the job title of domino architect. Crowds can watch each man create the intricate patterns and at 6:15 p.m. each night the collapses take place. “Domino Dan” will perform Sept. 26 to Oct. 9 and Harrington will perform Oct. 10 to 19. The spectacle will be held inside the African American Museum.

Find Something for Everyone

The State Fair Auto Show is the biggest new car and truck show in the Southwest, according to the State Fair Web site. A massive gathering of 2009 models and concept vehicles will fill exhibit halls. Lexus, Infiniti, Lincoln-Mercury, Chrysler and Saab models will make up the Luxury Showroom. The Classic Corral will litter the lawn across from the African American Museum with vintage hot rods. Chevrolet will even offer fairgoers a chance to get behind the wheel at the Chevy Test Drive in East Park Plaza.

The Chevrolet Main Stage will present the sixth Annual World Corny Dog Eating Championship on Sept. 28. The previously chosen 15 contestants will stuff their faces with corny dogs, the food that some say was invented at the State Fair of Texas in 1942, according to Texas Monthly magazine. The first place winner will receive $500, two round-trip tickets on Southwest Airlines and a few extra calories.

Get into the Football Frenzy

It would not be the State Fair of Texas without some Cotton Bowl combat. The stadium’s recent $57 million remodel features more restrooms, concession stands and seating according to The Dallas Morning News. Capacity now reaches 92,200. The Cotton Bowl will house the Grambling State-Prairie View A&M game Oct. 4, Oklahoma-Texas match-up Oct. 11 and Texas A&M Commerce-East Central (Okla.) Oct. 18.

Travel the Globe at the IMAX

The Museum of Nature & Science’s IMAX Theater will feature two films during the fair. “Pulse: A STOMP Odyssey” is a “percussion-centered” film depicting cultures from around the world and how the rhythms of different peoples are both diverse and similar, according to the museum’s Web site. Another film, “Wired to Win” follows teammates Baden Cooke and Jimmy Caspar through the Tour de France as one is injured and the other travels to the head of the pack. The film also incorporates medical descriptions and graphics into the race clips. Fairgoers can get tickets for the museum’s exhibits at a discount after purchase of fair admission.

Talk to the Animals

Robert Liner, equine expert, will show fairgoers how he whispers to the horses. Audiences will gather to see Liner demonstrate his horsemanship methods and skills in the Spirit of the Horse show daily in the Ranch Arena.

See the Sparklers

Crowds will experience what it means to “Ignite Your Senses” at 7:15 p.m. each night. The Starlight Parade begins with the United States Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corp. Illuminated floats adorned with decorations of various themes including Kitchen Craft’s dancing utensils, King Tut, ocean creatures and a Chinese dragon will follow the Corp. The show does not end there, however. Fireworks and other effects will light up the sky in a nightly fair finale at 8 p.m.