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.

Registration

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

  • All ages are welcome
  • All entries must be the work of the contestant
  • Entries MUST be submitted online
  • Entry fees will be $2 per item
  • Contestants may enter all contests listed with only one entry per class
  • You do not have to be a Texan to enter!

 

Contest Dates

Entry submission opens JANUARY 27

  • Texas Theme Cookie Decorating: February 24, 2021
  • Patriotic Celebration: June 23, 2021
  • Big Tex Cake Decorating: September 1, 2021
  • Holiday!: December 5, 2021

 

Entry Fees

Contestants are grouped into divisions by age, and all entered items are judged against those within their own division. All entry fees are $2 per entry item.

 

Judging

Judges will award ribbons based on individual merit and will place as they deem fitting. Ribbons will be awarded in each class. Winners will be shared on State Fair website, emails, and social media channels. Each class will be awarded the following ribbons to the winning entry:

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

Registration

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 26, 2021. Two options are offered for contestants to register – online or mail-in.

Online Registration

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

Mail-in Registration

Fill out the Pre-Fair registration form located at the back of the book or find a printable copy of the form at BigTex.com/CreativeArts. Mail the completed form and all entry fees to the Creative Arts building. 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 will be 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, Photography – Department K. Please see Definition of Terms section for amateur qualifications.
  • Any entry item that has previously won a ribbon in a Creative Arts contest at the State Fair of Texas may not be reentered.
  • 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 Food (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 (Foods, Canning) allows entry to 12 classes, one entry per class.

Entry Submission

Following registration, contetsants 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.

Mail-in Submissions

If mailing entry item(s) for submission, all entries must arrive by the deadline given for registration – Monday, July 26, 2021 – 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.

IF MAILING VIA U.S. POSTAL SERVICE, use the Fair’s
P.O. Box: State Fair of Texas Creative Arts Department, P.O. Box 150009, Dallas, TX 75315.
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.

Hand-Delivered Submissions

If choosing to hand-deliver item(s), all entries must be dropped off at the Creative Arts building between Friday, August 6, through Sunday, August 8, 2021 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. Anything remaining after that final day will incur a $10 late fee.

Pre-Fair Pick-Up:
Wednesday, September 1, 2021, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday, September 2, 2021, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, September 3, 2021, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Post-Fair Pick-Up:
Wednesday, October 20, 2021, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday, October 21, 2021 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, October 22, 2021, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Monday, October 25, 2021, limited availability, contact Creative Arts directly to arrange a time for pick-up.

Judging

The judging process for all Pre-Fair contests will begin after Sunday, August 8, 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 BigTex.com by the end of August 2021.

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 2021 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.

Rules & Participation Guidelines

  • Cooking Contests during the Fair 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 2019 is not eligible to enter the same contest in 2021.
  • Contestants cannot enter the same recipe twice in any 2021 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 or changes from last year.
  • No covers are allowed on containers (i.e., lids, plastic wrap, etc.). The Fair is not responsible for contestant’s 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

1ST PLACE – $1,000
2ND PLACE – $750
3RD PLACE – $500

AWARDED TO THE TOP THREE DURING-FAIR CONTESTANTS WHO ACCUMULATE THE MOST PARTICIPATION POINTS FROM DURING-FAIR CONTESTS.

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

A Best Competitor Award Ceremony will be held following the final contest on Sunday, October 17, 2021, in the Creative Arts Competition Kitchen.

The 2019 1st Place-Best Competitor is not eligible to compete for this award in 2021.

Recipe Submission

  • Contestants are required to include the recipe for each entry typed on an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of white paper. Contestant’s name, address, and phone number must be printed on the back side of recipe.
  • All recipes must list all ingredients with instructions on preparation in the order of ingredient usage. Incomplete recipes may 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 on recipe. Use of metric system measurements are not accepted.

Registration and Entry

  • Pre-registration is requested and available online at BigTex.com/CreativeArts.
  • 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 available in the Competition Kitchen.