This 97-year-old Dallas man celebrates 72nd year of visiting State Fair of Texas: ‘I think it’s awesome’


DALLAS ( — The Texas State Fair hosts events for people of all ages, including a 97-year-old Dallas man and his family.

You may often hear about the long family tradition of people going to the fair and passing on the excitement to their children. Michael Guadagnoli can sum up his love for it in five words.

Michael Guadagnoli

“I just think it’s awesome,” Guadagnoli said.

This season is his 72nd.

“I’m happy to say that I enjoy coming here every year,” Guadagnoli said. “I always have a lot to do, a lot to see, a lot of people to meet. It’s just awesome.”

He can even tell you about his first visit.

“First we go in and out of where the animals are, and then we follow the path through the buildings and go into each building and look at everything,” Guadagnoli said.

His excitement was evident in his attire as he took a stroll down memory lane with his two children, wearing a State Fair badge, hat and Texas-themed socks.

“I came as early as possible when it first opened, so there weren’t many people,” Guadagnoli said.

He said he has seen all the changes since it was first launched in 1951.

“There are just more demonstrations,” Guadagnoli said. “More people and different kinds of food and drinks.”

He also noted that Big Tex is growing, too.

“I don’t think he was as tall as he is now, but he dressed like a Texan,” Guadagnoli said.

Now, people recognize him during his visits.

“The guy serving the root beer recognized me,” Guadagnoli shared. “I was walking over to order and she said, ‘I know, I know,’ and she handed it to me.”

Even during his most recent visit, some showgoers made his point. He met his friend at Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que, where he enjoyed one of his favorite sandwiches.

However, his favorite part of the show was the time he spent with his loved ones. “I remember when we first came here… the kids, walking by holding hands.”

His son, Michael Guadagnoli, said attending markets was something his parents instilled in him and his siblings early on.

“We had the pleasure of coming to the show with our dad, who was really our big Tex, if you will,” he said. “It really taught us to see things from his perspective. We’re happy to do that.”

And, in case you were wondering, Guadagnoli is already planning a trip for next year.

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