State Fair's iconic Midway sign damaged by hail

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on June 20, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 20 at 10:07 PM

DALLAS - It's appeared in countless visitors pictures over the decades and in the 1962 film "State Fair," but now the iconic Midway sign at the State Fair of Texas appears to be among the damaged in last week's severe hail storm.

Fair officials revealed Wednesday hail stones broke out at least 55 long, custom-made glass tubes in the sign that was originally erected in 1948. That's even four years before Big Tex showed up.

Herb Ward, with Big D Signs, said he helped his father put up the sign in 1948 and he's maintained it over the years. Ward said the 505 round bulbs within the broad letters were not lost, but the tubes broken out must be custom made.

The star atop the 25-feet tall Midway sign was also broken, and Ward believes it was the original. A new star must also be remade. A 1979 State Fair news release said the Midway sign cost $11,000, but replacing it today would run about $400,000, according to Ward.

Fortunately, the sign can be repaired and Ward said it should take a month. Fair officials said it doesn't yet know the cost. The sign originally stood near the main entrance of the Cotton Bowl but was moved in the mid 1970s to its current site closer to the south entrance of the stadium.

More on how Ward will remake the glass neon tubing for the sign coming at 10:00 p.m. on WFAA.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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