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Neighbors, businesses prepare for State Fair of Texas opening day

Neighbors say the run of the annual fair can bring some excitement, and concern, for those living and working outside Fair Park.

DALLAS — Big Tex is now standing in the center of Fair Park. The grounds are starting to get busy in preparation for the State Fair of Texas, which kicks off on Sept. 30. 

“I’m very excited,” said neighbor Patsy Dotie.

Dotie is among neighbors looking forward to the annual event and the more than two million visitors expected to converge on the South Dallas-Fair Park during the fair’s near one-month run.

“Go out there and eat a lot of corny dogs, and ice cream, and get on some of them rides,” Dotie said.

Even with the excitement, some neighbors admit there’s concern.

“We don’t get a lot of traffic over here,” explained business owner Shaun Mitchell.

Mitchell owns Lil Mama’s Bar B Que and Catering a few blocks from the fairgrounds. He said State Fair of Texas visitors will likely park their cars in the community, but bypass local businesses and restaurants like the one he owns.

“Right now, we don’t see a lot of traffic, foot traffic, or any kind of traffic. Even though we’re promoting that we’re over here. We’re selling the same thing the fair sells. But we don’t see that business,” Mitchell added.

Traditionally, some neighbors and organizations take advantage of selling parking spots on private lots adjacent to Fair Park. They can make a pretty penny. Some other businesses across from the fair’s main gates predict they will be slow between Sept. 30 and Oct. 23.

Some workers at nearby shops along Exposition Avenue said traffic and parking are among some of their big concerns in the coming weeks, especially during the Texas-OU game. They said traffic will get so grid-locked, they’re expected to close their stores during that game day for the fair.

As the neighbors get closer to opening day, some businesses and residents are encouraging fairgoers to not just visit the State Fair of Texas, but take time to explore the unique South Dallas-Fair Park community.

“That’s the only way we are going to survive, is by the support of people. That’s the main thing, right now. Just support us,” Mitchell said.

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