Big Tex takes his place over the State Fair of Texas grounds Friday

Texas

AP file photo. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

DALLAS (KXAN) — A week before the State Fair of Texas officially opens, Big Tex is showing up.

The 55-foot cowboy famous for greeting all fairgoers in the Big Tex Circle every year is back, and crews are hoisting him into place starting at 10 a.m. Friday. He has been a staple at the fair since 1952.

The “skeleton” of Big Tex was actually built in 1949 to make the world’s tallest Santa Claus for a Christmas celebration in Kerens, Texas, according to a press release from the fair. The city’s chamber of commerce sold the structure to the fair two years later for $750, and then Big Tex made his debut in 1952. His voice was added in 1953, and he started his friendly Texan wave in 1997.

The original Big Tex, 52 feet tall with a 75-gallon cowboy hat, was destroyed by a fire in 2012. When rebuilt, he grew three feet and his hat grew by 20 gallons. His boots grew 26 sizes as well from 70 to 96.

Last year’s state fair of canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there’s a full slate of events lined up for this year with COVID-19 protocols in place.

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