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NEWS: State Fair of Texas announces 'Summer Place Park'

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Here are some crappy photos from today


Also check out this video of the LED lights for the motor house


More foto here.


Yup. I'm in Texas now.


Hey look, it's a Wacky Shack! I'm told it will be open during the summer.


The observation tower doesn't appear to be near as tall as the radio tower.


I'm sure the flagpole accounts for some of the height.


Fair Park is more than just a fair, its full of Art Deco. If you love Art Deco, you have to come to the park. It's open year round with several museums and what not to check out. Literally you could spend 4-6 hours here.


Yawn. Tower.




OH OH OH Dirt!




But are you really?


Ok, enough. It's a large pole out of the ground. Incidentally I would almost bet it will draw the 30-45 minute wait that the wheel does during the fair.


Big Tex lived here.


And that's all. The Summer Adventure Park has great promise. I'll be there when it opens to check it out.

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Apparently, the Top of Texas tower will have pyrotechnics as well as LEDs. And admission to Summer Adventure includes access to a number of interesting attractions at the park even though $29.95 seems rather expensive for a (so far) coasterless park with very few thrills. It looks nice. I'll definitely check it out at least once this summer.

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I was unaware till this morning’s meeting of Dallas City Council’s Economic Development Committee that the video you see above, touting Summer Adventures at Fair Park, even existed. It’s probably new to you too: It’s only been viewed 250 times, give or take, since it was posted at the end of November. Ah, well — it made its official bow this morning at Dallas City Hall, as council members and Fair Park officials discussed cutting two new deals with the State Fair of Texas, which will not only operate Summer Adventures coming to the Midway in May but also the new Fair Park Livestock Center.


At issue this morning: a revenue-sharing deal between the State Fair of Texas and the city over parking fees for Summer Adventures, as well as an operating agreement for the livestock center. State Fair officials also named the party that’s purchased the naming rights: the family of John Carpenter, who was among those responsible for bringing the Texas Centennial Exposition to Fair Park in 1936.


Folks visiting Summer Adventures will have to pay $15 to park per vehicle, which is what it runs during the State Fair of Texas (it’s $10 the rest of the year). The State Fair wants 70 percent of that new income. That, said Daniel Huerta, Fair Park’s executive general manager, will “allow the State Fair to recoup $27 million in expenses and pay for operations and maintenance” of Summer Adventures.


“It’ll take revenue coming from all areas — parking, admission, concessions – to make this $10 million budget,” said Errol McKoy, State Fair president. “That’s what we’re up against with it. It’ll be a full-fledged amusement park, theme park. We have taken all the steps to put in all the elements that will make this a good alternative to Six Flags for all our citizens.”


Speaking of admission: When asked by council members how much Summer Adventures would cost per person, McKoy was initially reluctant to offer specifics: It’s a “tremendous value,” he said to some tittering. Then he offered the hard numbers: $29.95 for adults, $24.95 for kids (which, for the younglings, is $1 more than we reported back in September). McKoy said that’ll cover admission to everything, including the Top o’ Texas Tower ride.


“So it’s quite a value when you look at it,” he said, noting that doesn’t even offer discount tickets that’ll be sold through, say, Kroger, for instance. He expects the State Fair to make $18 per person.



The new Fair Park Livestock Center will have at least two would-be uses, per this morning's briefing.


Some on the committee had issues with the high price of parking; others said, look, there’s always Dallas Area Rapid Transit, so deal. In the words of Tennell Atkins, chair of the Economic Development Committee, “We gotta make sure we’re a first-class park. We’re in line with that, and I hope this parking won’t be a major debate.” It may be “a burden” on some folks, he said, but there will be discount coupons available. And, you know: DART.


Atkins’ sole issue with Fair Park is how underutilized it is — which comes up any time someone mentions the words “Fair Park” around the city council. Said Atkins: The city needs to fill the Cotton Bowl, for starters, be it with soccer of Fourth of July entertainment. But something. And soon.


“Fair Park is an economic engine, and the Park Board and [Assistant City Manager] Ryan [Evans] and Karl [Zavitkovsky, head of the Office of Economic Development] need to work more closely with Fair Park, the Friends of Fair Park and the [Dallas] Summer Musicals to make sure we get more revenue and make sure it’s a destination. … We should be competing with the Gaylord and Six Flags.” He also wanted to know: Where’s the Fair Park hotel?


Well … that’s not on anyone’s radar at the moment. But there is that livestock center, which will double as a conference center and concert venue, based on the renderings below.


The city is kicking in $4.5 million from 2006 bond funds, and it’s up to the State Fair to find the rest. And right now it’s a couple million short, which is why demolition has yet to take place in advance of construction that’s supposed to begin (and end!) in 2014. McKoy said the Carpenter family will be kicking in $1 million toward construction, now that the council’s one step closer to turning over naming rights and sponsorship opportunities for the livestock center.


“I’m confident we’ll be able to wrap [fundraising efforts] by 2014 and have facility done by the 2014 State Fair,” said McKoy. As far as naming rights, he told the council: “Former Gov. Dolph Briscoe and John Carpenter were very active in the fair many years ago, so we think it’s only right we name it in their honor.”


Dallas Morning News

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Okay, I was a bit worried that the park was way overpriced for what is was going to offer. They have updated the attractions page, and they have added quite a few fair type flat rides (about half adult, half children's rides) , to go along with the Texas Star Ferris Wheel, Texas Skyway Sky Gondola and the Top o' Texas Tower and log flume. See the updated listing of rides here.


Of interest to credit whores everywhere is the Jungle Twist. It looked like this was possibly a spinning coaster, and it is, abeit a smaller one, but that's okay. I found a video of it:



By the looks of things, most of the newly announced flat rides are being leased from various carvnival operators, as most look like rides that have appeared at the Texas State Fair (and their midway is an "independant" one; no one operator operates all of the rides, but many operators bring in a few rides).


So I am planning on checking it out this year when I'm down visiting family. The $29.95 pay one price ticket doesn't seem outlandish now. I'll pay that for what they are offering. Hmn, next year maybe if it's a success they can build an all new replica of the Comet roller coaster that operated for years at the fairgrounds and though was only 70 feet tall, kicked your butt with some insane airtime!

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Yeah, the Texas Star, (un air-conditioned) Skyway, and world's lamest log flume with be a real blast to ride when it's 110 degrees out.


They announced these plans at Winterfest about 5 years ago, and my opinion is unchanged: who the hell wants to do these things in teh middle of a Dallas Summer, when SFOT is nearby, and really not any more expensive, if you visit often enough. At best, the State Fair attraction will be to the normal "carnival" crowd, and illegals. No one who can afford a trip to SFOT, or Hurrican Harbor, would choose this.



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  • 2 months later...

So tomorrow is the Grand Opening day for Summer Adventures at Fair Park. I am going to go later this year when I hit SFOT and SFFT. Anyone planning on going? They've also added two more coaster credits, a Windstorm and for all the credit whores, a Wacky Worm for a total of 3 now.


They held an opening for their new Top O' Texas christening, and I have to give them a thumbs up. It's cool when parks do cool things for new attractions, though I will say the first few minutes had me flashing back to the demo of Space Spiral at Cedar Point.


(for whatever reason I can't seem to embed the YouTube player at the moment...)


There is a park map and the final lineup of attractions here: http://www.fairparkfun.com/


This is not Six Flags, and I don't think that they are trying to be, but it is in it's own right kind of unique with some cool things to do and I'm looking forward to visiting next month.


I did not realize they had a permanent, albeit short log flume at the fairgrounds too. I think their admission is reasonable and that it's cool you'll be able to ride some of the permanent State Fair of Texas rides outside of the Fair.

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Place has gotten no local media attention. Fair Park is a pretty cool place, some very cool buildings down there. However as said above, it isn't in wonderful area, and now the meseums have largely moved downtown. I hope this works out, but I'm not terribly hopeful.

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This place is a joke. At least the tower has AC, but what the hell are you looking at on the East side of Dallas at 500 feet on a hazy Summer afternoon? I love how they say how one horrible taxpayer paid entity, the light rail, will help out this horrible taxpayer paid entity. It will be filled with the folks that use public transit. You do the math. As the above poster said, its a horrible part of town that is only reasonably safe due to huge crowds during the fair.


Just go look at the picture of the skyway, knowing it has no AC, and they say you should breath in the view. Breathing will be real pleasant In a glass cube in 110 degrees. They used to torture people that way. You can take in the view of the closed State Fairgound midway! What a beautiful site. This project is the ultimate example in why most politicians need their heads bashed in on the nearest concrete slab. I can't wait for a trip report.


Plus, their website continuously assumes my iPad is a mobile device, and won't let me stay on the main site. A huge pet peeve of mine.


The single positive continues to be Corny Dogs.



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