Saturday, September 22, 2018

Hat Man Returns


For as long as I can remember, every year at the State Fair, Big Tex as been front and center in his usual spot.  Even after the fire a few years ago most people just take it for granted that he'll be right where he always is and people have no qualms saying "Meet me at Big Tex."

But since he's not a year 'round kind of guy, Big Tex needs help getting up and around every year.  The raising of Big Tex has become a yearly event that attracts not just the media but plenty of spectators.  It's been almost 15 years since I've attended personally so I decided to go this year.  But first, here's a look at the video I shot way back when:

They've managed to streamline the process over the years and can now get him up pretty quick.  If you plan to go next year, here are a few of the things you can expect:

The Press is There - A Lot of Them

All of the local news channels want to start their evening broadcasts with a shot of Big Tex going up on that day.  There can also be some stations outside of the DFW area that show up: Tyler/Longview, Sherman/Denison, etc.  You never know who wants to make the drive out to see the iconic moment.  There's also tons of stringers, freelancers, photographers, bloggers and anyone else who wants to capture the first moment the big guy makes his yearly appearance.

Spectators Are Into It

It's not uncommon for the crowd to bring lawn chairs and a picnic basket for the event.  Like I said earlier, it used to take a lot longer but even now it can still take a few hours to get Big Tex fully dressed (boots and all) and ready for the adoring crowds.  You can see the kid above doing his best Big Tex cosplay and entertaining the crowd.   The event can be a nice little diversion from day-to-day stress.

People Get Inspired

It's not just the Big Tex kid above who gets creative but other local artists as well.  This year local painter Eric Hanson was creating a portrait of the man of honor while the instillation was happening.  Also tons of professional and amateur photographers get shots that might just be entered into next year's Creative Arts contest.

Everyone's In a Good Mood

If you've ever visited the State Fair before then there's a good chance you have at least one fun memory about it.  If you've been several times then you've probably got several good memories.  Since Big Tex is the personification of the fair, seeing him again is a great reminder of all the fun and happiness the fair can bring.  And that shows in the delight people take in the big guy's return.

We live in an overly harsh world so it's always nice when people can come together to ride some rides, eat some food and have a little fun.  And with Big Tex's return, those good times are right around the corner.

Welcome back Big Tex!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Theater Scene

Welcome to Anarene, TX, home of the melancholy and the wistful.  It's the setting of the movie "The Last Picture Show," based on the novel by author and Texas literary icon Larry McMurtry.  The film's setting is in the town of Anarene, based loosely on McMurtry's own small Texas hometown of Archer City (near Wichita Falls).

Archer City has embraced their favorite son and the film that was filmed there so it's still easy to find some of the locations, most notably the downtown movie theater.

The Royal Theater plays a semi-prominent role in the story and ends up going out of business at the end of the movie.  But the real deal is still alive and kicking.  It doesn't show movies anymore but hosts musicians and theater productions instead.

It's on the town square, where most of the action in the movie takes place, and directly across from the courthouse.  For some reason there's very few good shots of the courthouse in the film but I got a pic of it for your viewing pleasure:

The entire film was shot in the small town and parts of the surrounding areas so there's plenty of more filming locations to discover.  Which is what I'll do the next time I'm in the area.  Until then, we'll have to get by on the town's sense of nostalgia: