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

Thank you for honoring Virginia McAlester

It's nice to know you love Fair Park as much as she does


We're very glad to have your support.

We thank you for donating to Friends of Fair Park in honor of Virginia Savage McAlester. Your backing helps us protect, preserve, and promote historic Fair Park.

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.


Magnolia Lounge, home of Friends of Fair Park and the Margo Jones Theatre

Secrets Revealed

Learn the surprising background behind Fair Park secrets. Share the subtle and offbeat parts of the park you find interesting!


Most of us are instructed early that, "It's not nice to keep secrets."

So I'm going to share with you some little secrets about Fair Park that escape the eyes of even many regular visitors. I'm also going to ask you to share with me those little odd, unnoticed aspects of the park that you find intriguing. Here we go:

1. FAIR PARK'S STATUE OF LIBERTY

Statue of LibertyYou may have seen, just north of the Hall of State, a quaint replica of the Statue of Liberty holding a torch just like its namesake in New York Harbor. But this smaller version was not a gift to Fair Park from France.

In the 1950s, the Boy Scouts of America helped fund the creation of numerous Statue of Liberty replicas that they distributed across the United States in honor of scouting’s 40th anniversary. This is one of those replicas, made of stamped sheet copper by the Friedley Voshardt Foundry in Chicago.

However, you may not have noticed that the plaque beneath the statue mistakenly identifies it as the Allegorical Figure of the State Fair of Texas. That statue sits near the main entrance gate to the park grounds.

No one knows for sure, but it's surmised the Statue of Liberty replica once stood near the Allegorical Figure monument, and that when workers relocated Lady Liberty to her current location in 1978, they mistakenly relocated the plaque along with her.

 
2. AN ARCHITECT GETS HIS REVENGE

B-A-R-T-H-E-L-M photo credit: Flashback DallasDonald Barthelme, who designed the grand Hall of State, was deeply disappointed when he learned he would not be allowed to engrave his name on the building. The architect's response: I’ll show you.

Glance at the top of the structure and you’ll see the last names of 59 prominent Texans encircling it. Now look at the first letters of the first eight names, and you’ll discover they spell out B-A-R-T-H-E-L-M.

We surmise Barthelme decided to make the next name Burnet, because there was no other name on the list that began with ‘E,’ and from a distance, the ‘B’ would resemble the letter ‘E’ more than any other letter would.

Got a question about something unusual you’ve seen at Fair Park?  Send it to me

 
3. A GIFT FROM GERMANY

Berlin BearDon’t be surprised if you stumble upon a bear cub as you saunter across the Fair Park grounds. The good news is, it’s not just harmless, it’s a symbol of peace.

The 84-pound sculpture was given by the people of Berlin to the people of Dallas in 1970, during the height of the Cold War and when Berlin was still a divided city. It was a token of good will created by German sculptor Hildebert Kliem, who was renowned for having restored many of the historical buildings in Germany that suffered damage during World War Two.

Why a bear? For more than 700 years, the black bear has been the unofficial mascot of Berlin, likely alluding to an ambitious 12th-century ruler of the region called Albrecht the Bear.

Fair Park contains many more secrets I’ll share with you in the future. Now that I’ve told you mine, you tell me yours.


Matt Wood

 

 
Matt Wood
Executive Director, Friends of Fair Park
1121 First Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75210
214-426-3400
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

B-A-R-T-H-E-L-M photo credit: Flashback Dallas

Shake Off the Winter Blahs at Fair Park

Telltale signs that spring has sprung abound throughout our park


Few places better prove the point that spring has sprung in Dallas than Fair Park. Showers or sun, cloudy or clear, Fair Park is a great place to come shake off the winter blahs and “spring” into action.

FAMILIAR FRIENDS

Like the perennials in your flower beds, several events at Fair Park this month tell us warmer weather is on its way.

The Texas Discovery Garden is prepping for its not-to-be-missed spring plant sale and is ready to sign up your young-uns for one of their informative and fun summer camps.

The cyclists who compete in our weekly Fair Park Crits no longer shove off under twilight. Don a safety helmet and come join the racers.

Meanwhile, spring harkens the appearance of the Friends of Fair Park’s ultimate fund-raising event, the Spirit of the Centennial Award Luncheon. This year’s award recipient is Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and you still have time to pick up tickets for our most important luncheon of the year.

NEW TO THE SCENE

Spring represents the arrival of new, delightful things just as much as the re-emergence of things we’ve grown to love over time. That pertains to Fair Park, as well.

Granted, it would be awesome if the musical taking the stage at our Music Hall at Fair Park this month was “Spring Awakening.” But I don’t think too many people will complain that the show set to arrive is “Hamilton,” considered by many to be the greatest Broadway musical in a generation. If you can find any tickets to this blockbuster event, I can promise you they will cost you many, MANY Hamiltons.

Finally, EarthX may not be a new event at Fair Park but it is an exhibition about everything new on the planet. I love strolling among the booths and watching the demonstrations to discover the innovations out there that can make our homes, our properties and our cities more earth-friendly. You’re almost certain to find some gadget or gizmo that will greatly reduce your carbon footprint (and your utility bills, as well).

What really excites me is that the presentations of “Hamilton” and EarthX 2019 reflect the fundamental reason Dallas civic leaders developed Fair Park so many decades ago: the desire to bring people together to enjoy grand events, and create grand memories, at the very same time.

These are just a few of the reasons that (apologies to Cole Porter) “I love Fair Park in the springtime.” Come spend some time with us and I will bet that you will too.

Matt Wood

 

 
Matt Wood
Executive Director, Friends of Fair Park
1121 First Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75210
214-426-3400
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Early morning Leonhardt Lagoon photograph by Fair Park visitor Paige Weaver

Thank you!

Thank you for letting me know about the story you know (or want to know) about a Fair Park feature.


We will get back with you with whatever answers we may have.  We will also share some of these insights on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds.

I hope you will follow us there!


Matt Wood

 

 
Matt Wood
Executive Director, Friends of Fair Park
1121 First Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75210
214-426-3400
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

B-A-R-T-H-E-L-M photo credit: Flashback Dallas

March is all about 'the luck of the Irish.'

Fair Park is, indeed, lucky to still be around, so many decades after it was built and then renovated


With all due respect to my friends in shamrock green, I'd like to tweak that phrase this month to say, 'the luck of Fair Park.'

For Fair Park is, indeed, lucky to still be around, so many decades after it was built and then renovated. Many other architectural wonders of the early 20th century (from most of the fairgrounds for the 1939 World's Fair in New York to many of America's grand railway stations) have been demolished or destroyed.

We in Dallas are most certainly lucky to still have in our midst such a stunning repository of Art Deco architecture.

Also, Fair Park is lucky to be the host of the State Fair of Texas each autumn. It originally competed for the honors with a rival fair held in North Dallas. Then, the state fair organization at the time encountered financial problems.

That was before the exposition buildings burned down in 1902 and its biggest source of income – proceeds from horse race gambling – got scuttled by the Texas Legislature.

Somehow, the fair has persevered in Dallas. Today, Fair Park plays host to one of the most successful state fairs in the country, attracting millions of fun-lovers to Dallas each year. Some of them find their best luck on the Midway, winning stuffed toys large or humongous.

Ironically, the luck of the Irish and the luck of Fair Park intersect in a way. The Fightin' Irish of Notre Dame University won five of the seven Cotton Bowl Classic games played in Cotton Bowl Stadium (they've not been so lucky since the game moved to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, where their record is 0-1).

Feeling down on your luck these days? I encourage you to come to Fair Park this first weekend of March and soak up some lucky vibes at the North Texas Irish Festival. Maybe you'll be especially lucky and win the festival's new signature event, a non-timed 5K fun run.

No matter how you place in the run, may the following Irish saying follow you all over Fair Park’s ground and all month long:

"A sunbeam to warm you, good luck to charm you.
A sheltering angel, so nothing can harm you.
Laughter to cheer you, faithful friends near you,
And whenever you pray, heaven to hear you."

 

Matt Wood

 

 
Matt Wood
Executive Director, Friends of Fair Park
1121 First Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75210
214-426-3400
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Fair Park is, indeed, lucky to still be around