Betty McKnight has an overflowing box of state fair ribbons at home. (Photos by Danny Fulgencio)

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Today is Fair Day for elementary students around town, giving all the little ones a chance to ring toss their way through the Midway, check out a massive pig, and eat corny dogs until they lose their lunch on a giant swing. To many, giving the day off of school (two this year, in fact) for the State Fair might seem a bit much, but for North Texans, it is part of growing up.

Besides rides and food, the State Fair also has a number of competitions, some of them more well-known than others. The most popular is the Big Tex Choice Award, which includes all things fried, from butter to Dr. Pepper, but there are numerous other contests that allow locals to earn those coveted blue ribbons.

The Advocate spoke to several neighbors who served as judges for the various competitions in everything from chili to antique dolls (they are categorized by the material the head is made of). Learn more about the secrets to winning, perks and challenges of being a state fair judge here.

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.