Below is an overview of the guidelines for each type of Creative Arts contest. Be sure to read the rules for each specific contest you are entering as they all have unique rules.


All contestants are required to complete registration before submitting their item(s) for judging. The deadline for Pre-Fair registration, along with entry fee payment, is Monday, July 25, 2022. Two options are offered for contestants to register – online or mail-in.


Create an account at to register your item(s) and pay for entry fees. A registration receipt will be sent upon completion.


Fill out the Pre-Fair registration form located at the back of the book or find a printable copy of the form at Mail the completed form and all entry fees to the Creative Arts building at Fair Park, as listed in this handbook. All registration forms must arrive by the deadline provided. Contestants may choose to have their registration receipt sent via standard mail or email.

Checks and money orders should be made out to the State Fair of Texas. All returned or NSF checks are subject to a $40 fee.

Entry Fees

Contestants are grouped into divisions by age, and all entered items are judged against those within their own division. Standard age divisions and their entry fees are as follows. Please note: age divisions and their entry fees may vary within departments. Please check rules specific to each department.

Adults (18+): $5
Seniors (70+): $2
Juniors (13-17): $4
Children (12 & Under): $3
Teachers and Professionals: $6

Please be advised of the following:

  • Pre-Fair contests are open to amateurs only, with the exception of certain categories in Fine Art (Department A), Ceramics and Hand-Painted China (Department B), Designer Craftsman (Department C), Needlepoint, Crewel, and Counted Cross Stitch (Department H), Needlework and Sewing (Department I), and Photography (Department K).
  • Any entry item that has previously won a ribbon in a Creative Arts contest at the State Fair of Texas may not be re-entered.
  • All entries must be appropriate for family viewing.
  • Seniors compete in the adult division.
  • All handmade entry items must be made by the participant only, unless entered into a two-person or group category as specified.
  • Entry items that contain edible components are prohibited unless competing in Canning – Department E.
  • Contestants may enter a maximum of six entries per age division with only one entry per class. Note: some divisions may have less than six classes (i.e.; Child, Junior, and Teacher and Professional). EXCEPTION: Dept. E (Canning) allows entry to 12 classes, one entry per class.

Entry Submission

Following registration, contestants may submit their entry item(s) by mail or choose to hand-deliver them to the Creative Arts building. Ribbon-winning entries will be displayed throughout the Fair and will be returned by mail or available for pick-up according to the way it was submitted.


If mailing entry item(s) for submission, all entries must arrive by the deadline given for registration – Monday, July 25, 2022 – and must also include:

    • A copy of your entry registration form.
    • Return postage either in the form of prepaid postage, check, or money order. *Photography will now require prepaid postage for mail back, if you would like the photographs returned.

IF MAILING VIA UPS OR FEDEX, use the Creative Arts building’s physical address: 1327 Admiral Nimitz Circle, Fair Park, Dallas, TX 75210. Attn: Creative Arts Department.

P.O. Box: State Fair of Texas Creative Arts Department, P.O. Box 150009, Dallas, TX 75315. Attn: Creative Arts Department.

Non-winning entries will be returned by mail approximately three weeks after the closing day of the Fair. Return postage must be paid in advance.


If choosing to hand-deliver item(s), all entries must be dropped off at the Creative Arts building between Friday, August 5, through Sunday, August 7, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hand-delivered submissions must also include a copy of the registration receipt.



Non-winning entries should be picked up before or after the Fair on designated days below.

Pre-Fair Pick-Up:
Wednesday, August 31, 2022 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday, September 1, 2022 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, September 2, 2022 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Post-Fair Pick-Up:
Wednesday, October 26, 2022 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday, October 27, 2022 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, October 28, 2022 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Monday, October 31, 2022 limited availability, contact Creative Arts directly to arrange a time for pick-up.


The judging process for all Pre-Fair contests will begin after Sunday, August 7, which is the final day that hand-delivered items will be accepted. Entries are judged on individual merit and will place as judges deem fitting. Contestants’ results will be posted online at by the end of August 2022.

Best of Show

The Best of Show award recognizes each department’s highest- scoring entry out of all classes in an age division. Some departments, divisions, or classes may not be eligible for Best of Show and will be noted as such.

Class Ribbons

1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, and Honorable Mention ribbons are awarded to the top entries in each class of every department.

Director’s Award

The Director of Creative Arts Department will select one outstanding entry representing the creativity of all the 2022 Pre-Fair contests. The contestant of the chosen entry will receive a $750 award, and a special ribbon will be displayed on the item during the Fair.


The Big Tex BBQ & Chili Challenge will take place on Saturday, September 24, and includes three different cook-off contests: Big Tex BBQ Challenge, Big Tex “No Rules” Chili Challenge, and CASI Chili Challenge. The CASI Chili Challenge is a sanctioned qualifying event where contestants may earn points toward the annual CASI Terlingua International Chili Championship.

Rules & Guidelines

  • All cooks will be allowed one parking space for cooking.
  • Contestants must supply a fire extinguisher. Strictly enforced – checked when entering area.
  • Propane stoves are allowed.
  • All meat must be contained in cooled ice chests.
  • Contestants are not allowed to give out samples to the public as per health department regulations.
  • See each contest for their specific rules and prizes.


  • Pre-registration is requested. Contestants may pre-register online at
  • Entries will also be accepted on the day of the contest. Contestants may complete an entry form located at the back of the handbook and bring the form to the registration table on contest day. Blank entry forms will also be available on-site.


  • See map of fairgrounds for Big Tex BBQ & Chili Challenge location.
  • Enter through Gate 5, located at the intersection of Grand Ave. and Robert B. Cullum Blvd., and proceed to the first stop sign. You will be directed where to park on arrival.
  • Gates will open at 6 a.m. on competition day.
  • No overnight parking is permitted.

Participation Guidelines

  • During the Fair, Cooking Contests are open to amateurs only. No professional cooks or culinary teachers may enter. Please see Definition of Terms section for amateur qualifications.
  • The Best of Show winner from 2021 is not eligible to enter the same contest in 2022.
  • Contestants cannot enter the same recipe twice in any 2022 contest.
  • Mixes or prepared foods may not be used in recipes, unless otherwise specified.
  • Due to limited space, only one item per contestant may be refrigerated.
  • Read individual contest rules for contest-specific requirements and changes from last year.
  • No covers are allowed on containers (i.e., lids, plastic wrap, etc.). The Fair is not responsible for contestants’ containers.
  • Decisions of the Director of Creative Arts will be final. No person is allowed to interfere with judges or Fair staff assisting judges during the judging process. Violators will be disqualified and asked to leave the judging area.

Best Competitor Award

Awarded to the top three During-Fair Contestants who accumulate the most participation points from During-Fair Contests.

1st Place $1,000
2nd Place $750
3rd Place $500

Points are calculated as follows:

Best of Show Ribbon = 4 points each
1st Place Ribbon = 3 points each
2nd Place Ribbon = 2 points each
3rd Place Ribbon = 1 point each

The Best Competitor award ceremony will be held following the final contest on Sunday, October 23, 2022, in the Creative Arts Competition Kitchen.

The 2021 1st Place-Best Competitor is not eligible to compete for this award in 2022.

Recipe Submission

  • Contestants are required to include the recipe for each entry typed on an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of white paper. In addition, the contestant’s name, address, and phone number must be printed on the backside of the recipe.
  • All recipes must list all ingredients with instructions on preparation in the order of ingredient usage. Incomplete recipes will not be used in the cookbook.
  • Any recipe that has been precisely copied or photo- copied from any magazine, letter, newspaper, cookbook, or other publication will not be accepted.
  • All recipes entered in the State Fair of Texas’ contest(s) become the property of State Fair and/or its contest sponsor(s). Recipes may be republished in the official State Fair of Texas Cookbook or on the State Fair’s or sponsor’s website and other communication channels.
  • Must use U.S. standard measurements in the recipe. The use of metric system measurement is not acceptable.

Registration and Entry

  • Pre-registration is requested and available online at
  • Contestants may also register on the day of the contest by bringing a completed during-Fair contest entry form located at the back of the handbook. Blank entry forms will also be available in the contest area on contest day.
  • Contestants must register and turn in completed entries by 10:30 a.m. on contest day as specified.
  • No preparation of entry will be allowed after 10:30 a.m. unless approved by the Director of Creative Arts.
  • Blank forms are available in the Competition Kitchen.


Building security and surveillance are provided around the clock, with every precaution taken to protect all entered items. Any insurance deemed necessary by the contestant must be provided by that individual. It is distinctly understood that in no case shall the State Fair of Texas, its directors, officers, or employees be held responsible for any loss, damage, or injury of any character to any person, animal, vehicle, art work, exhibit, or article, while participating in the Creative Arts building at the State Fair of Texas.