Should Big Tex be radically changed when it returns to the State Fair next year?
DALLAS — The State Fair of Texas ended its three-week run Sunday as patrons paid loving tribute to the event's missing mascot.
The memorial to Big Tex was growing, with floral tributes, cards and notes addressed to the 52-foot-tall statue that was removed from its place on honor on Big Tex Circle Friday after catching on fire, leaving only its steel frame intact.
The offerings to the oversize cowboy included a bouquet of corny dogs and a pouch of chewing tobacco.
The Fair has vowed to rebuild Big Tex for its 2013 season.
The exposition's final days were marred by another dramatic event on Friday, when two dozen patrons were stuck 200 feet in the air atop the stalled Stratosphere ride for more than two hours before the mechanism could be manually lowered.
News 8 has learned that Fair officials will review early next year how well all of its attractions performed, including the Stratosphere. No decision will be made until then about whether the swing ride will return to the Midway.
Despite a struggling economy, State Fair president Errol McKoy said the 2012 event could surpass the current record of $37.3 million for spending on food and amusement rides. "It's just too close to call at this point," he said in a written statement.
The Fair also noted that patrons donated 204,527 pounds of canned goods this year, more than doubling the previous record set last year. The contributions will provide meals for more than 170,000 hungry North Texans.
The 2013 State Fair of Texas will be in business from September 27 through October 20.