First came renderings of his hand and then his head. Now, the State Fair of Texas has released a video mockup of his face.
Big Tex, who roasted last September amid an electrical short, must be installed at his revamped spot atop Big Tex Circle in 128 days. Sue Gooding, Fair spokeswoman, shared a video of the facial reconstruction process and the –– admittedly creepy –– final, digitized product. The rendering is already sparking comparisons to much more sinister objects, namely the devil, as jokingly suggested by exiting Councilwoman Angela Hunt on Twitter.
Individual donations have reached $74,707, which is about $30,000 more than State Fair of Texas officials had raised in April. That still falls short of what's needed; it costs about $500,000 to rebuild Tex. The figure was only insured for about a third of that cost.
Gooding said the Fair is soliciting sponsorships from local companies. She declined to name which, but promised to have Big Tex paid for and standing upright at the new Big Tex Circle when the Fair begins. The redesign of the Circle, Gooding says, costs about $680,000 and has already been approved by the city's Landmark Commission, which must sign off on any permenant changes to Fair Park.
"We've heard from sponsors," she said. "We're calling them the founding sponsors of the redesign of Big Tex Circle so we do have a lot of interest from sponsors who want to help fix that area up and have it ready for him."
Big Tex also needs a new voice. The icon's former voicebox Billy Bragg didn't have his contract renewed after 11 years with the Fair. Gooding said she's received 96 audition tapes and she's listening to each to find the right baritone to welcome fairgoers. But what's she even looking for?
"Jim Lowe, for those who have been longtime residents of Dallas and attendees of the Fair, Jim Lowe ... served for the longest period of time as the voice of Big Tex and he's really the one who's most recognized as applying the voice," Gooding said. "It's a real deep baritone voice and that's what I'm listening for."
Tex will be voiced live through much of the day but the Fair will record some choice sayings for when Tex's mouthpiece needs to wrap up an eight or nine hour workday, Gooding said.
But back to the rendering: It's the last the Fair will issue of the digitized Big Tex. Dig the State Fair nightmare fuel below.