Sunday, August 27, 2017

State Fair of Texas Announces Winners of the 2017 Big Tex Choice Awards

Today's 13th Annual Big Tex Choice Awards, presented by VisitDallas, provided guests with an ample assortment of tasty treats. Tom Grace’s Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger took home the titles for both “Best Taste – Savory” and “Most Creative.” With 28 years as a concessionaire under his belt, Tom Grace is no rookie in the world of Fair food. This is his second time to make the finals in the Big Tex Choice Awards and first time winning a title. To create his Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger, he begins with two funnel cakes for “buns” that are fried to a golden crunch. The first funnel bun is topped with a juicy, freshly-grilled burger patty, a heaping helping of crispy bacon, and gooey queso! It is completed with another funnel bun and generously dusted with powdered sugar.

“Best Taste – Sweet” went to Clint Probst for his Gulf Coast Fish BowlA Big Texas Choice Awards Veteran, Clint Probst was back for his ninth year at the State Fair of Texas. His creations have made the semi-finals eight times in a row. This year’s offering is a whimsical drink featuring all the flavors of your favorite tropical coast with a kick! The fish bowl is grounded with gravel made of Nerds® candy, then filled with a blue tropical-flavored punch. An alcoholic beverage, you can be assured that the Swedish Fish® swimming through the ice are enjoying themselves! 

With such a solid list of contenders in the final ten, this year’s Big Tex Choice Awards posed quite a challenge for the judges, who were tasked with picking the winning dishes. Going up against these winners, and proving to be very worthy opponents, the other foods that made it to the final round include: Deep Fried Chicken Noodle Soup on a Stick by Chris Howard, Deep Fried Froot Loops® by Milton Whitley, Fat Smooth by Tami Nevins-Mayes, Fernie’s Fried Texas Sheet Cake by Winter Family Concessions, Pinot Noir Popcorn by Robert Parish, Surfin’ Turfin’ Tator Boat by Melissa Harrison, Texas Fajita Fries by Nick Bert, and The Tamale Donut by Justin Martinez. The annual event requires several judges to face the trying task of taste-testing all ten finalists. 

This year’s judges were Adam Medrano – Deputy Mayor Pro Tem and Dallas City Council Member, District 2; Casey Donahew – country artist of Casey Donahew Band; Jack Perkins – restaurateur and owner of Dallas restaurant, Maple & Motor; Lisa Taylor – On-Air Personality for 99.5 The Wolf; Rocky “ROCK-T” Turner – national radio and television personality. Serving as the sixth judge, 10-year-old audience member Cali Villacci was lucky enough to get her ticket picked from the random drawing and fill the spot of special guest judge. Leading the awards ceremony as emcee was once again local radio host Michelle Rodriguez of New Country 96.3 KSCS. 

Celebrating 131 years this fall; the State Fair of Texas brings visitors from near and far to celebrate all things Texan. In continuing this tradition, the Fair aims to provide a wide variety of quality entertainment and give each fairgoer the true Texas experience, whether you’re a native or a visitor of the Lone Star State. At 24 days, the State Fair of Texas is the longest-running fair in the nation. With hundreds of activities to discover on any given day, there are endless ways to spend your time at the Fair. The 2017 exposition runs from Friday, September 29 to Sunday, October 22 in historic Fair Park. Fair fanatics can pick up a Visitor’s Guide, which includes a food map that lays out the vendor locations for each of the finalists, making it easy to map out your route and hit all the hot spots along the way. Visitor’s Guides will be available at State Fair Information Booths, as well as online at