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As Delta Surge Continues, State Fair of Texas Announces It Won’t Require Masks

The annual fried food bonanza will offer vaccinations on-site, and those who get the jab can score free food

Big Tex
Not even Big Tex will be masked up
Robert Strickland
Amy McCarthy is a reporter at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

Amid a surge of new COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly contagious delta variant, the State Fair of Texas has announced that it will not require fairgoers to mask up.

On Wednesday, State Fair officials told WFAA that fully vaccinated people will not be required to wear a mask, while those who have not yet received the vaccine will be “strongly encouraged” to wear face coverings. Not even Big Tex, the legendary statue that greets fans as they enter Fair Park will be masked up, despite wearing a mask during 2020 as a show of support for efforts to reduce COVID transmission.

The State Fair will, however, operate an on-site vaccination clinic, where fairgoers can receive their first dose of the COVID-19 shot in exchange for $20 in free fair coupons that can be exchanged for rides and snacks, like this year’s Big Tex Choice Awards finalists. Here’s hoping that the allure of free Deep Fried I-35 will encourage the more than 40 percent of Dallas County residents that have yet to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition to the vaccination clinic, the State Fair will also set up hundreds of sanitizing stations for patrons to use as they walk — and eat — through the fairgrounds. The fair’s organizers have also required that all its employees get the vaccine in advance of the fair’s kickoff on September 24.