Best Fair Bargains Start at DAR Museum

jane-douglas-house-greeter-donna-broderThousands of people pay big bucks for favorite foods at the State Fair of Texas every year.  Most of us even stand in long lines at Fletcher’s Corny Dogs (12 coupons or $6 each) for this popular treat.  Current and past winners for the Big Tex Choice Awards like fried cookie sticks aren’t much cheaper.

For fairgoers on a budget, there are other options.   Some places at the fair sell less pricey treats, if you know where to look.   Start with the DAR Museum, owned and operated by Jane Douglas NSDAR volunteers. For only $1 (cash) you can buy a bottle of Ozarka water, or a soda, a Snickers bar, or a bag of popcorn. 

At the DAR House, next door to the former Women’s Museum on the fairgrounds, expect to be welcomed by costume greeters like chapter member Donna Broder or SAR members.  Patriotic music may be playing on the house piano, while visitors tour the historic displays ranging from petticoats to pistols.  Museum curator Vicki Burns says they also sell handmade crafts made by members.  jane-douglas-house-volunteers

One popular item was a colorful ribbon that lets you wear a water bottle for hands-free walking ($3).  The museum also does a brisk trade in trinkets for the kids.  Funds raised by the chapter go toward maintaining the historic house.

Silver Leaf Resorts sponsors a weekly Thrifty Thursday, when foods at many concession stands are reduced.  These include everything from nachos to funnel cake.  The Fletcher’s Turkey Dog is reduced from 10 coupons ($5) to 6 coupons ($3).

The best meal bargain for families with small children is located just across from Big Tex.  The Old Mill Inn’s spacious patio provides a tree-shaded oasis with plenty of chairs and tables.  At their concession stands you can buy hot dogs, lemonade, and ice cream for $2 each.   This is a great spot to watch the parade of people go by, and wait for Big Tex to talk again.  It’s also a good place to watch the festive twilight parade.

For families on an even tighter budget, it’s okay to bring your own picnic lunch.  Non-alcoholic drinks are permitted, as long as they’re not in glass containers.  There are nice, grassy spaces located by the Swan Boats that seem perfect for a picnic. 

For those who drive a pickup truck, Nissan offers free parking during the fair on a lot just outside the grounds.  From the lot, you’ll be driven over to the Nissan exhibit in a new Titan truck.

Attending the State Fair of Texas should be a fun, even educational experience for everyone.  If you keep an eye out for bargains, it can also be easier on the budget.  Nissan even offers free parking for anyone who drives a pickup truck, any make.  They’ll take you to the Nissan exhibit at the fair in a new Titan.

For an up-to-date schedule and information about special pricing or activities, visit

Featured slideshow photo of the current exhibit “An Agreeable Tyrant,” Fashion After the Revolution courtesy NSDAR.