By Father Timothy Gollob
Special to The Texas Catholic
Being born in 1934, I just missed the 1936 Centennial State Fair of Texas. It elevated not only the buildings on the fairgrounds, but also the enormous egos of Texans!
I do know some of the facts of that historic event from the archives of our late, great historian of the Diocese of Dallas, Steve Landregan. He showed me some of the memorabilia of 1936.
Most interesting was the exhibit sponsored by the Dioceses of Texas. It was a replica of a Spanish mission with many teaching exhibits. Later that structure was moved to Romine Street to become the St. Anthony Parish Church.
My personal involvement with the fair started in the 1940s when many special days were inaugurated. The one which impacted me most was East Texas Day. Schools were closed and tickets were handed out to the students to encourage their families to attend.
My parents made the 100-mile trip on many occasions. We left early in the morning and arrived at the parking area and paid our 25-cent fee. Then my brother Mike and I would split from them and go on our merry way with $1 each to spend on whatever we wished.
To make that money last all day, we managed to take in all of the free exhibits before buying a paper cup full of delicious French fries sprinkled with much salt and oil. Yes, there were fried foods back then, but no formal competitions.
My favorite exhibit was that of the Southwest Conference. Many nice trinkets were given out along with the schedules of the football teams. I also was fascinated by the Women’s Building. It was festooned with all the many hues of the ribbons won by various cooks and canners. The most famous of the perennial winners was Lillian Crowley.
We are about to see the resurrected Big Tex again welcoming us to spend our $1 on all sorts of fried food. We will be tempted to win a large stuffed bear.
My brother and I slept all the way back to Tyler. The day had been hot, but we were now tired and happy with our memories.
Father Timothy Gollob is the pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.