The Lope: Gargoyles, a Big Wheel and a Giant Cowboy

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gargoyles, a Big Wheel and a Giant Cowboy

This past weekend a friend and I paid a visit to the State Fair of Texas in Dallas in our thirst to scope out other state fairs and see how they do things.

I happened up on a decent Halloween attraction - a set of automated gargoyles in front of the carnival's haunted house:

I like the gargoyle you see in the foreground - the one with the huge wings that actually look like they might stand a chance of allowing the beast to achieve flight. The one on the roof is what I've seen described as a Tuscan gargoyle, after the Tuscany region of Italy. I don't know if Tuscany has such gargoyles on its buildings or if the name comes from current merchandising, but I've always thought this style of gargoyle looks too much like a bulldog with token wings applied as an afterthought.

In the background you can see the 212 foot tall Texas Star Ferris wheel, promoted as the largest in the U.S.

Here's a different perspective. Note the decently rendered likeness of Lon Chaney (Sr.) as the Phantom of the Opera. I really don't go in for such rides as they're usually just corridors with warped mirrors, moving deck plates, plank bridges and such, but the artwork on carnival attractions is often an interesting mix of (usually unlicensed) classic and current pop culture:

The other end of the haunted house featured a bloated gargoyle reminiscent of Jabba the Hut. It mumbled and its eyes moved. Above it was another bulldogish gargoyle. To the left and above you can see the illuminated Texas SkyWay, the fair's sky tram:

Here's a better view of the Texas Star behind the haunted house:

The following has nothing to do with Halloween, but it's timely. Every night of the fair, a parade of illuminated floats winds through Fair Park. They call it the Starlight Parade and it's sponsored by a power company, StarTex:

The giant Cowboy in the background is Big Tex, a 52-foot icon of the State Fair of Texas since 1952. In 1953 he was modified to talk, like so:

When I get around to it, I'll have lots of photos of the Art Deco buildings and statues of Fair Park - relics of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exhibition.


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