The State Fair of Texas: Burgers, dogs and deep-fried everything
The State Fair of Texas, which welcomes more than two million visitors over 24 days, is the longest-running fair in the United States. Established in Dallas in 1886, the fair has taken place almost every year since and is best known for its interesting food inventions. The BBC's Elizabeth Hotson viewed some of the traditional Texan fare on offer.
Image caption Big Tex is the symbol of the fair. There are two of them. The first stands 55ft (17m) high. This version, his neon little brother, a modest 38ft, comes into his own when the sun goes down.
Image caption The food is the star of the fair, and every year vendors compete to come up with stand-out items. Ruth Hauntz, from Ruth’s Tamales, has won awards for her stuffed fried Mexi-cone: slow-cooked barbacoa served in a tortilla shell with black beans and cilantro-lime rice, topped with pico de gallo, queso fresco, and home-made salsa verde.
Image caption Texas shares a border with Mexico so it’s not surprising that there are lots of Spanish and Mexican influences.
Image caption Considered by some as one of the best-value items, the gigantic turkey legs are more than in meal in themselves.
Image caption Aaron Fletcher comes from a family considered royalty in corn-dog circles. Fletcher's has been selling corn dogs at the Texas state fair since 1942.
Image caption Another delicacy on offer is the burger hand pie, made of beef, bacon, grilled onion, cheddar and Pepper Jack cheese, all encased in a flaky pie crust.
Image caption Edwin Lara has been frying at the fair for five years and is especially proud of the deep fried PBJ – two slices of white bread filled with peanut butter and jelly (jam), coated in batter and – you guessed it – cooked to golden perfection in the fryer.
Image caption You might want to start with just one corner of the fried PBJ and see how you get on.
Image caption Christi Erpillo CFO (Chief Frying Officer), from the Winter Family Concessions dynasty, serves up a funnel cake.
Image caption Deep-fried cola, anyone? Or how about deep-fried butter? While not everything at the fair is fried, a lot certainly is.
Image caption Invented by Abel Gonzalez Jnr and making its debut at the State Fair of Texas in 2009, deep-fried butter balls are made using frozen battered butter, which are then put in the fryer.
Image caption Rusty Fitzgerald is senior vice-president of operations for the state fair and oversees the midway – the cacophonous thoroughfare where rides, food concessions and toy stalls compete for business.
Image caption The Texas Star ferris wheel is the fair's most popular ride and provides a suitably impressive backdrop for the celebrations
Image caption Brothers Brent and Juan Reaves, from Smokey John's BBQ, are proud creators of Big Red Chicken Bread.
Image caption Stall-holders need to stand out, and one of this year’s most eye-catching creations is Big Red chicken bread; a doughnut incorporating Big Red soda – and topped with a fried chicken wing.
Image caption Carina Jaimez, from Dallas, enjoys a michelada – beer with spices, pepper, lemon and lime – which she says is the ultimate hangover cure.
Image caption With hundreds, if not thousands, of options to choose from, stalls have to stand out. And this potent-looking concoction, featuring several flavours of frozen alcohol, poured by Brandon Winn, certainly does.
Photography by Elizabeth Hotson.