Friends of Fair Park, 1121 First Ave., Dallas, TX 75210 (214) 426-3400

Get your love on

Fair Park is the perfect spot for viewing and wooing

Did you know that I proposed to my wife, Susan, at Fair Park? Actually, it involved a really clever ruse.

Susan was in charge of an art festival that took place at Fair Park. A mutual friend convinced her some logistical problems had arisen for the next festival. "Come to the roof of the Hall of State, and I can show you all the issues from there," he told her.

It was late afternoon in the middle of the week near the beginning of December. The temperature was comfortable, the sunset was spectacular. She and my friend had to climb a ladder secured to the side of the building to reach the roof. Once she reached the roof, she turned around and there I was. In a suit and tie. Holding some flowers. The ring in my pocket, a bottle of champagne in a bucket that sat on a table for two I had taken up there in advance. Obviously, from the fact I called her "my wife" earlier, she said yes.

Needless to say, I consider Fair Park a terrific place to start, or lock in, a romance. Consider visiting some of these locations in the weeks ahead, places sure to make your loved one’s heart go pitter-pat:

  • The Esplanade – Architect George Dahl knew what he was doing when he made our premier water feature a romantic locale coming and going. Many people don't realize the fountains and music show are operating most days of the year. You even have the downtown Dallas skyline as your backdrop!

  • The Grand Allee – Tucked behind the Texas Discovery Gardens, this glorious greenspace lined with Savannah hollies and featuring a 40-foot-tall fountain may be Fair Park's best kept secret. Except, that is, to lovebirds, who have made this a popular place to pop the question and tie the knot.

  • The Texas Star – Since its debut in 1985, this 212-foot-tall amusement ride has hosted literally hundreds of marriage proposals. Even its smaller predecessors were popular spots for couples to say 'Yes,' to one another. One such couple was Rick and Ginger Francis of El Paso, who celebrated their 40th anniversary with us during the 2018 State Fair of Texas.

Still need some inspiration? Swoon on the Leonhardt Lagoon during a ride on one of our Swan Boats. They're available to rent on most nice weekend days. And, beginning in May, cuddle on the grass under the stars at a concert at Fair Park's Dos Equis Pavilion.

We know you love Fair Park. During this valentine month, don't forget it offers lots of places for you to proclaim your love for someone special.

Matt Wood


Matt Wood
Executive Director, Friends of Fair Park
1121 First Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75210
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Texas Discovery Gardens' wedding ceremony photograph by Jenny Bright Photography

Happy 2019! The Year a New Vision for Fair Park Unfolds

Change will be slow but noticeable this year as Fair Park’s new management moves forward

I will completely understand if you’re rolling your eyes right about now.

"A new year and a new Fair Park." "A new vision for Fair Park’s future." Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all before, you're likely thinking.

Well, this time the enthusiasm is warranted. For on January 1, the City of Dallas officially hands over the oversight of Fair Park's operations to Fair Park First and Spectra. Those two organizations are dedicated to making sure the transformation of Fair Park talked about for decades finally becomes a reality.

That said, evolution is likely a better word here than transformation. The reimagining of Fair Park is not something that will be unveiled with a grand flourish. Instead, it will unfold quietly over time.

We'll probably see changes to the grounds one year from now, but those changes will be subtle, not stunning. More events. Better signage. Improvements in parking management. Greater inclusion of the residents and businesses that line Fair Park's perimeter. And, increased maintenance of the park's structures (and infrastructure).

Ever since the Texas Centennial in 1936, Fair Park has been the subject of one revitalization plan after another. Now, new overseers with deep expertise in fund-raising, and event promotion and management, are ready to take the wheel.

The next plan for Fair Park is not sitting on a shelf somewhere. It's now deeply embedded in every one of our to-do lists for every single day of 2019. I'm confident that with a little patience, and a lot of encouragement, we can expect to see a reimagined Fair Park emerge in the months ahead.

Matt Wood



Matt Wood
Executive Director, Friends of Fair Park
1121 First Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75210
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Close up of Allie Victoria Tennant's 1936 sculpture 'Tejas Warrior' above the entrance to the Hall of State

The State Fair Has Ended, But Fair Park's Allure Has Not

The crowds gone, November can be an exquisite time to visit our exquisite venue

A common urban myth is that when the State Fair of Texas comes to a close, there's no real reason to go to Fair Park. But I believe that period between the end of the state fair and the end of the year is one of the BEST times to wander, and wonder, at Fair Park.

Were you one of the many who missed the State Fair of Texas this year due to inclement weather? Consider this my personal invitation to come explore Fair Park in the weeks ahead. Here are a few reasons why you may discover this to be one of your favorite times to visit our National Historic Landmark:


Chi Omega Christmas

Few markets out there better satisfy those hunting for holiday gifts than the market staged at Fair Park each November by the Chi Omega sorority. This unique bazaar features around 200 merchants who are ready to sell you a new shawl for Uncle Paul or a tasty jelly for Cousin Shelly.

Before you buy any Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa or New Year's gift, explore the options brought to you by the Chi Omega sorority who, as a result of last year's market, donated $360,000 to local organizations (Note: All the monies spent at the merchant stalls go to the merchants. Donations stem from event ticket sales, merchant booth fees, donations and underwriting).

Hey, if you come to the market, say hello. My family buys about half of our Christmas presents at this wonderful, worthwhile event. November 14-17, Centennial Hall at Fair Park.


Slavery at Jefferson's Monticello: Paradox of Liberty

Most people know the African-American Museum at Fair Park opened a landmark exhibit this fall titled, "Slavery at Jefferson's Monticello: Paradox of Liberty." It is the first exhibit to present the story of Jefferson and his Monticello plantation from the perspective of Hemings and other slaves owned by the former president.

What most people do not know is that when the exhibit opened in September, not all of its components were in place. Now they are, making for a more compelling and educational experience, even if you saw the exhibition before or during the State Fair.

All the more fascinating: the exhibit offers a wealth of information about Jefferson and Hemings uncovered only recently by researchers and archaeologists. Through December 31. African-American Museum at Fair Park.


Leonhardt Lagoon

When you're elbow-to-elbow with others enjoying our great state fair, it’s tough to savor Fair Park's architecture. Once the fair ends, however, you and your family have a spectacular opportunity to enjoy, almost all to yourselves, what I like to call, 'our backyard.'

Marvel at the Art Deco splendor delivered by the Hall of State and Tower Building, among many other structures at Fair Park. Explore the grounds’ offbeat artworks and landmarks, including a replica of the Statue of Liberty, a statue of a bear given to Dallas by the people of Berlin, Germany, and the restored Woofus, which is part horse, steer, sheep, turkey, pig and duck.

Or, just sit in the landscaped park nestled behind Texas Discovery Gardens and drink in the cool fall weather.

Did you know that (except for when the park is leased for park-wide events), the gates to Fair Park are open from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. and that admission is free? Just pull your car into one of the parking lots on-site or, better yet, take DART to Fair Park Station and come explore a magnificent venue that's never more walkable and pleasurable than it is in late fall.

I hope to see you somewhere in Fair Park during November.

Matt Wood
Executive Director, Friends of Fair Park
1121 First Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75210
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Interior of Embarcadero Building

Fair Park is Your Economical Holiday Wonderland

Savor the magic of the season more easily and economically than you can elsewhere

Fair Park is pretty magnificent to behold this time of year.

The holiday lights only heighten the already dramatic architecture on display in the Centennial Building, the Automobile Building, the Esplanade and the Hall of State.

But let's face it – lots of places across Dallas and Fort Worth offer some pretty magnificent holiday displays. Why bring your family to Fair Park for a dose of the seasonal spirit?

We're More Pedestrian Friendly

Pedestrian Friendly

I don't know about you, but I find being cramped in a car with the entire family – and chugging along at five miles per hour (if that) – can get real tedious, real fast. And even if you can get out of the car, walking in someone else's neighborhood, or some commercial development, just seems odd.

At Fair Park, you and your loved ones can stroll amid the lights and festivities underway at whatever pace you choose. And, you have legendary architecture to enjoy while you take in Fair Park’s delights.

It's less stressful, more blissful.

We're More Economical

The Tenor at night

Sure, you could spend up to $50 per car (plus gasoline) to view the lights in another part of town. But why, when Fair Park's holiday lights is free. Parking is free (or, for a minimal cost, you can take DART right to our front door).

Admission is free. The holiday extravaganza is free. The only charge you might incur is for concessions and tickets to any entertainment underway at the Music Hall at Fair Park. That leaves a lot of coins in your pocket for gifts for the kids or donations to a cause you hold dear.

As I said, Fair Park is pretty awesome to experience in December. Visiting the park during the holidays has been a Wood family tradition for many years now. I hope you and your family will start a similar tradition in the weeks ahead.

Matt Wood
Executive Director, Friends of Fair Park
1121 First Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75210
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

American sculptor Lawrence Tenney Stevens' Texas statue on the Esplanade

Thank You for Donating to Friends of Fair Park!

It's nice to know you love Fair Park as much as we do

We're very glad to have your support.

We thank you for donating to Friends of Fair Park! Your backing helps us maintain Fair Park as one of the premier entertainment destinations in North Texas.

In a few days, you will receive an acknowledgment from the Friend of Fair Park with the tax information you will need for your records.

If you have any questions about your contribution, please contact Matt Wood, President, at (214) 426-3400 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thank you, again.

Fair Park mural preserved by the Friends of Fair Park