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Chimichurri

The 2022 State Fair of Texas commenced September 30. On the foodie front, for the first time, they've added seven new food stands from some notable Dallas restaurants.

These are above and beyond the usual concessionaires, and also have nothing to do with the Big Tex awards (which this year include a Fried Charcuterie Board and a sweet called Peanut Butter Paradise).

No, these are serious gourmet goodies that range from irresistible empanadas to gourmet soft-serve ice cream to Neapolitan pizza topped with BBQ.

These are the seven brand-new vendors joining the lineup at the 2022 State Fair of Texas:

Empanadas and fries from Chimichurri & Milagro Taco Cantina
Award-winning chef Jesus Carmona’s new stand will be serving dishes from his two Dallas restaurants, Chimichurri and Milagro Taco Cantina. He'll be doing two types of empanadas, plus a campeona taco, a burrito Texano, and mole fries, drizzled with mole sauce, crema fresca, and cotija cheese. Carmona was nominated for Rising Star Chef in CultureMap’s 2018 Tastemaker Awards and appeared on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri.

Candy pickles from Di-Licious Candies Pickles Factory
Known as the “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” of pickles, the family-owned and -operated Di-Licious Candies Pickles Factory is the “first original candy pickle factory in the entire world” and has more than 250 flavors of candy pickles. Featured dishes include their signature chamoy candy pickle along with candy pickles in a cup, Rainbow Brite candy pickle sundae, and cotton candy pickle roll crunch.

Pumpkin spice cheesecake on a stick from Drizzle Cheesecakes
Olympic athlete Stephen El Gidi and his partner Walid founded Drizzle Cheesecakes in 2018. Their business has made appearances across North America from southwestern Ontario to our neighbors at Six Flags Over Texas’ Holiday in the Park. Drizzle’s New York-style cheesecake on a stick is dipped in magic-shell Belgian chocolate and rolled in a variety of toppings including crushed Oreos, red velvet cake, strawberry crumble, and more. Their stand will feature specialty flavors developed just for the State Fair of Texas including pumpkin spice cheesecake.

Loaded queso fries by Enjoy Foods
Founded in 2012, Enjoy Foods started out as a gourmet kitchen store in Rockwall from owners Dwaina Morris and her husband They'll be serving loaded queso fries, loaded queso nachos, fried chicken tacos, root beer floats, brownie sundaes, daiquiris, and fried jalapeños. One extra-unique item is their adult-infused jumbo Texas pickle infused with daiquiri mix.

Gourmet soft-serve ice cream by Once Upon a Cone
Once Upon a Cone has been soft-serving delicious ice cream treats all over Texas for the past 12 years. They do premium vanilla, chocolate, and swirled soft-serve ice cream along with specialty sundaes, shakes, floats, and malts. Their dipped cones are available in chocolate, cherry, butterscotch, and birthday cake flavors.

Nashville hot chicken by Palmer’s Hot Chicken Dallas
The Nashville Hot Chicken restaurant concept from Dallas native Palmer Fortune and his partner and chef Mills Garwood will serve the Motherclucker sandwich, a fried chicken sandwich with pimento cheese and pickles; jumbo tenders; banana pudding; and tots, plain or smothered in pimento cheese queso). Plus their Frosé wine slushy made with pureed strawberries, hibiscus, and lime.

Neapolitan-style burnt ends pizza by Texapolitan Pizza
Stephan Nedwetzky of Pit Commander Barbecue is using barbecue as the topping on his favorite type of pizza, Neapolitan. Each pizza is made from 00 flour imported from Italy and needs only 90 seconds in the 900-1,000-degree stone oven to reach thin, crispy perfection. Four personal-sized pizza pies will include margherita, pepperoni, cheese, and smoked pork belly burnt ends. That one consists of red sauce, mozzarella, smoked pork belly burnt ends, jalapeños, cotija cheese, and Pit Commander Barbecue Sweet Heat BBQ sauce.

State Fair of Texas

State Fair of Texas unleashes 10 creative fried foods for 2022 Big Tex Awards

State Fair News

The 2022 batch of fried foods has arrived: The State Fair of Texas has chosen the finalists for its annual Big Tex Choice Awards, with 10 state fair vendors who will compete for acclaim with their various kooky concoctions.

This year's competition drew 51 entries from 36 concessionaires. Entries are evaluated on uniqueness, creativity, presentation, and taste.

The finalists will participate in a competition on August 28 when a panel of judges gives three awards, for Best Taste – Savory, Best Taste – Sweet, and Most Creative.

The finalists are:

SAVORY

Chicharron Explosion Nachos, Glen & Sherri Kusak
Fried pork rinds with Cajun-style seasonings topped with beef fajita meat, queso, and BBQ chopped beef.

Deep Fried BLT, Tom Grace
A 12-inch rectangular tortilla filled with bacon and cheddar cheese is fried, then used as sandwich bread to hold lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Served with garlic parmesan potato chips.

Deep Fried Lasagna Roll, Parish Family
Lasagna made with ricotta, parmesan, provolone, mozzarella, and meat sauce is rolled, dipped in cheddar-herb batter, fried, then garnished with marinara, mozzarella, and basil. Served with zucchini fries.

Fried Charcuterie Board, Tami Nevins-Mayes & Josey Mayes
Mozzarella, salami, and green apple wrapped in a wonton wrapper and fried, topped with goat cheese and hot honey.

Holy Biscuit, Isaac Rousso
Biscuit topped with brisket, street corn queso, bacon, honey, and fried pickles.

SWEET

Cha-Cha Chata, Garza Family
Horchata milkshake with caramel, cinnamon, whipped topping, crushed candy, cinnamon galletas de gragega, and fried arroz con leche bites.

Deep Fried Rocky Road with Blue Bell Ice Cream, Cody & Lauren Hays
Rocky Road fudge coated with batter and fried, drizzled with chocolate syrup, sweetened condensed milk, mini marshmallows, and cinnamon glazed nuts, served with a cup of Blue Bell Ice Cream vanilla ice cream.

La Bluebonnet, Milton & Grace Whitley
Citrus juice, blueberries, and sugary base poured over ice.

Peanut Butter Paradise, Chris Easter & Nicole Sternes
Honey bun injected with caramel, topped with peanut butter, Reese's Pieces, Crushed Butterfinger, peanut butter cups, and more caramel.

The Ultimate Brookie Monster, Juan & Brent Reaves
A "brookie" consisting of a brownie with chocolate chip cookies, Oreos, and marshmallows baked inside, then battered and fried. Served with vanilla ice cream, then topped with cheesecake crumbles and strawberry sauce.

The 2022 State Fair of Texas will open in Dallas on Friday September 30 and run through Sunday October 23. Here's how to get every possible discount.

Courtesy photo

How to get every possible discount at the 2022 State Fair of Texas

Deals for Days

The 2022 edition of the State Fair of Texas starts its 24-day run in Dallas' Fair Park on September 30, with music, games, and food.

But what we're here for is discounts.

There are a multitude of discount ticket options and deals being offered by the State Fair and other entities, meaning there's no reason you should ever pay full price.

TICKET OPTIONS
General admission ticket prices are tiered depending on the day of the week you go:

  • Monday-Thursday: $15 for adults, $10 for kids 3-12 and seniors 60 and over
  • Friday: $20 for adults, $15 for kids 3-12 and seniors 60 and over
  • Saturday-Sunday: $25 for adults, $18 for kids 3-12 and seniors 60 and over

Visitors must choose which specific date they want to attend, and tickets are good only for the date chosen and cannot be used on another day. Be careful with purchases; tickets are not eligible for reschedule, refund, or transfer.

General admission tickets go on sale September 12, and can be purchased online or at the gate.

Premium tickets are $24 and allow you to come on any day. Two-pack and four-pack combos for premium tickets with food and ride coupons are also available. As a bonus, CultureMap is giving you $15 off a ticket & coupon two-pack when you use the promo code 22mapCOMBO.

Premium tickets went on sale August 1, and are available online only.

DISCOUNTS
Below are the many ways we've found for you to save money on tickets to State Fair of Texas.

The season pass
If you plan on going to the fair more than two times, individual season passes are the only way to go. Prices are $50 at BigTex.com and include one single-day, Bring-a-Friend ticket; a State Fair reusable bag; a 10 percent off coupon for State Fair merchandise; and more. The upfront cost, which can be done in advance or at the gate, pays for itself on the third visit.

If you want to buy food/ride tickets without waiting in line once you get there, you can also buy the $150 Season Pass 2-Pack Combo, which includes two season passes and 50 food/ride tickets (worth $50). As a bonus, CultureMap is giving you $30 off the combo when you use the promo code 22mapPASS.

Food/ride tickets remain at $1 per coupon. As always, if you have old coupons, don't worry; all coupons, even ones from the bygone 50-cent price, will be honored.

Go after 5 pm
If you can wait until after 5 pm to head out to the fair, you can save a good chunk of change as everyone pays child’s prices once the clock strikes five. The deal is good any day of the fair. No promo codes are needed — the discount is automatically applied at the gate and online.

Opening day deals
The half-price deal on opening day continues: Anyone who brings two jars of peanut butter to donate to the North Texas Food Bank will receive $10 admission at the gate.

Military/First Responders Appreciation
All active military, retired military, and veterans, as well as active and retired public law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency services agencies, can save $5 off on weekdays (Monday-Friday) and $7 off on weekends (Saturday-Sunday) when they present valid documentation of service at the gate or online. Spouses of service men and women with a valid Military Spouse ID and accompanying children under the age of 18 also receive discounted admission. First responders receive up to three discounted admission tickets for their family members.

McDonald's coupons
The next time you eat at Mickey D's, make sure to check your tray liner or bag for State Fair coupons. You'll find ones for $5 off on weekdays (Monday-Friday) and $7 off on weekends (Saturday-Sunday.) All coupons are only good for tickets purchased at the gate and cannot be combined with any other offer.

Dr Pepper Value Days
Visitors can purchase their admission ticket online for a reduced price of only $10 on Dr Pepper Value Days, every Tuesday and Thursday. Fairgoers must be a Big Tex Insider to receive the promotion code; you can sign up now at BigTex.com/Insider. (Or — psst — you can use the code 22Culture to get the same deal on Tuesdays only; general admission tickets go on sale on September 12.)

North Texas Food Bank Wednesdays
One of the best deals continues to be North Texas Food Bank Wednesdays. By bringing five canned food items, fairgoers will receive admission for only $5. All canned donations go to the North Texas Food Bank, which helps feed members of the community.

Senior steal
Guests age 60 and over had it made in the shade in past years, as they were able get a discount ticket every day. That deal is now gone, but they'll still have Senior Days every Thursday, when they can get in for just $5.

Thrifty Thursdays
Guests can save while snacking during Thrifty Thursdays, where participating food vendors offer one of their signature menu items at a reduced price, ranging from mini versions to regular-size items.

Discounts on Midway rides
Designated as Thrilling Tuesdays, that day of the week is a great time to go to the fair. Not only can you get your $10 Dr Pepper (or CultureMap) ticket, you can save more inside, when most rides are offered at a reduced price.

State Fair of Texas

Judges drop a surprise at 2021 State Fair of Texas Big Tex food awards

Deep-fried baller

The 17th annual Big Tex Choice Awards, the fried food ritual that's a part of the annual State Fair of Texas, had a bit of a shocking outcome in 2021. Only two competitors won awards.

This is the contest in which Texas State Fair vendors submit new creations to be judged. The state fair people winnow the list down to 10 finalists, who can win in three categories: savory, sweet, and most creative.

That means there is room for three vendors to win.

But at the judging event on August 29, the judges gave two of those awards to one competitor. So this year, rather than three winners, there are only two.

Get ready to be shocked:

Best Taste – Savory and Best Taste – Creative: Deep Fried Seafood Gumbo Balls, Gourmet Royale
The gumbo balls contain shrimp, chicken, crab, and andouille sausage that are mixed into a roux, rolled into balls, coated in saltine cracker and breadcrumb batter, then fried. They're topped with chicken-fried okra spears and served with a side of dark gumbo roux sauce, a small bottle of hot sauce, and saltine crackers.

Best Taste – Sweet: The Armadillo, James Barrera
Armadillo Cookie Butter Ice Cream Sandwich features cookie butter semifreddo — an Italian rendition of ice cream that means semi-frozen — drizzled with cookie butter and sandwiched between two deep-fried Armadillo-shaped cookies, made with a branding iron.

They were two finalists from a field of 10 that also included: Crispy Crazy Corn, Deep Fried I-35, Lucky Duck Dumplin', Pork Shots, Brisket Brittle, Deep-Fried Halloween, Fernie's Fried Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake, and Texas Pumpkin Poke Cake.

The five judges consisted of three chefs and two media personalities, as follows:

  • Chef Tiffany Derry
  • Chef Uno Immanivong
  • Sports radio personality Donovan Lewis
  • Chef Kent Rathbun
  • 96.3 FM DJ Michelle Rodriguez

They must have loved them some seafood gumbo balls.

It's a bit of a puzzle, given that some of the contestants sounded very creative — more creative than seafood gumbo balls and, at the very least, creative-sounding enough to win the award for Most Creative. Deep Fried I-35, Pork Shots, Brisket Brittle, and a sloppy mishmash called Deep Fried Halloween: These all sound far more creative than seafood fritters.

It's also a bit of a lost opportunity, given that there are some fairgoers who seek out the winners. The judges could have spread the wealth to a third contestant.

But one hesitates to second-guess since one was neither a judge nor an attendee at the awards ceremony, which was closed to the public this year. Perhaps the judges were wrestling with personal demons we can know nothing about. Perhaps it was like an episode of Law & Order with a hung jury that could not reach a verdict.

That said, choosing only two winners for the three awards is not unprecedented: It happened in 2017, the first year that three awards were given out. (Previously, the fair had only given out Best Taste and Most Creative awards until 2017, when Best Taste was broken out into savory and sweet categories.)

In any case, all 10 finalists will be serving their entries during the 2021 State Fair of Texas, which begins September 24.

State Fair of Texas

Top 10 finalists named for State Fair of Texas Big Tex Choice Awards

Texas-sized snack attack

The State Fair of Texas has narrowed down the list of finalists for the 17th annual Big Tex Choice Awards, its much-vaunted competition of various fried foods that will be served at the 2021 event.

There are now 10 finalists, who will compete to win in three categories: savory, sweet, and most creative.

This year, 43 entries were submitted by 26 concessionaires, and 32 were selected as semi-finalists. The final winners will be selected by a panel of judges at the Big Tex Choice Awards event on Sunday, August 29.

In prior years, they've made the Big Tex Choice Awards an increasingly hyped event with lots of fanfare and an effort to ramp up the celebrity value of their judges. But this year's will be closed to the public, due to the you-know-what.

SAVORY

Crispy Crazy Corn, Ruth Hauntz: Whole kernel corn is battered and fried, then topped with pulled pork, pineapple slaw, jalapeño crema, and cilantro.

Deep Fried I-35, Clint and Gretchen Probst: Fried kolache dough topped with brisket, slices of peach, and barbecue glaze made with peaches and Dr Pepper.

Deep Fried Seafood Gumbo Balls, Gourmet Royale: Gumbo balls with Gulf shrimp, chicken, crab, and andouille sausage are rolled in saltine cracker and breadcrumb batter, then fried, then topped with chicken-fried okra spears and served with a side of dark gumbo roux sauce and saltines.

Lucky Duck Dumplin', Bert Concessions: Fried dumplings filled with fluffy cream cheese, duck bacon, and corn, served with Thai chili dip.

Pork Shots, Glen and Sherri Kusak at Hans Mueller: Smoked sausage is wrapped with bacon to form a tiny bowl that gets filled with mac and cheese and sprinkled with barbecue rub.

SWEET

The Armadillo, James Barrera: Cookie butter ice cream sandwich has two armadillo-shaped cookies, made with a branding iron, sandwiching cookie butter semifreddo with cookie butter drizzle.

Brisket Brittle, Ruth Hauntz: Like peanut brittle, but replace the peanuts with Texas brisket.

Deep Fried Halloween, Isaac Rousso: Chewy pretzel is fried, then bathed in candy corn syrup, then piped with orange and white icing, then stacked with Halloween candies like M&M's, Reese's Pieces, Mini-Twix, Oreo crumbles, and candy corn, then topped with marshmallow whip cream, a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, Hershey's chocolate syrup caramel sauce, and candy corn drizzle.

Fernie's Fried Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake, Winter Family Concessions: Chunks of cake doughnuts, English toffee morsels, and almonds are blended with custard, dipped in an "egg product" and panko and vanilla cookie crumbs, and fried. It's topped with mocha coffee whipped cream and a mini chocolate covered toffee bar.

Texas Pumpkin Poke Cake, Michelle Edwards: Texas-shaped pumpkin cake with vanilla glaze, caramel, and whipped cream.

The 2021 State Fair of Texas will open on Friday, September 24, and will run through Sunday, October 17. Here's how to get every possible discount.

Courtesy photo

How to get every possible discount at the 2021 State Fair of Texas

State Fair on the Cheap

The State Fair of Texas, which starts its 24-day run at Fair Park on September 24, is coming back after a year off due to the pandemic, and with it comes the multitude of discounts the fair offers annually.

For the first time, general admission tickets will be tiered depending on the day of the week you go to the fair. Adults can get in for $15 on Monday-Thursday, but the price goes up to $20 on Friday and $25 on Saturday and Sunday. Admission for kids ages 3-12 and seniors ages 60 and older is $10 Monday-Thursday, $15 on Friday, and $18 on Saturday and Sunday.

Daily tickets can be purchased at the gate or online after September 9. A big change this year is that you must choose which specific date you want to attend. Tickets are only good for the date you choose, not any day of the fair. Be careful with your purchase; tickets are not eligible for reschedule, refund, or transfer.

This year more than ever, you'd be a fool to pass up the multitude of discount ticket options available. With deals being offered by the State Fair and other entities, there's no reason you should ever pay full price.

Below are the many ways we've found for you to save money on tickets to State Fair of Texas:

The season pass
If you plan on going to the fair more than two times, individual season passes are the only way to go. Prices are $50 at BigTex.com and include one single-day Bring-a-Friend ticket, a State Fair reusable bag, a 10 percent off coupon for State Fair merchandise, and more. The upfront cost pays for itself on the third visit. You can get $15 off that price by entering the code 21valpakPASS through September 8.

If you want to buy food/ride tickets without waiting in line once you get there, you can also buy the $150 Season Pass 2-Pack Combo, which includes two season passes and 50 food/ride tickets (worth $50). You can get $30 off that price by entering the code 21mapPASS through September 8.

Unfortunately, food/ride tickets have increased in price from 50 cents to $1 per coupon. With efforts to be more sustainable, the fair is hoping the price increase will reduce coupon paper printing waste by 50 percent. If you have old coupons, don't worry; all old coupons will be honored at the new $1 value.

Go after 5 pm
If you can wait until after 5 pm to head out to the fair, you can save a good chunk of change, as everyone pays child’s prices once the clock strikes 5. The deal is good any day of the fair. No promo codes are needed; the discount is automatically applied at the gate and online.

Opening-day deals
The half-price deal on opening day continues, but it's a little different this year. Anyone who brings two jars of peanut butter to donate to the North Texas Food Bank will receive $10 admission at the gate.

Military/first responders appreciation
All active military, retired military, and veterans, as well as active and retired public law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and employees of other emergency services agencies, can save $5 off on weekdays (Monday-Friday) and $7 off on weekends (Saturday-Sunday) when they present valid documentation of service at the gate or online. Spouses of service men and women with a valid Military Spouse ID and accompanying children under the age of 18 also receive discounted admission. First responders receive up to three discounted admission tickets for their family members.

CultureMap code
We here at CultureMap are teaming up with the State Fair for a deal on the new Premium Tickets, which cost a bit more but offer the flexibility of coming any day of the fair instead of having to choose a specific date. By using the code 21mapCOMBO at BigTex.com, you will get $15 off the Premium Admission 2-Pack Combo price of $98. The combo includes two one-day tickets and 50 food/ride tickets.

McDonald's coupons
The next time you eat at Mickey D's, make sure to check your tray liner or bag for State Fair coupons. You'll find ones for $5 off on weekdays (Monday-Friday) and $7 off on weekends (Saturday-Sunday.) All coupons are only good for tickets purchased at the gate and cannot be combined with any other offer.

Dr Pepper Value Days
Visitors can purchase their admission ticket online for a reduced price of only $10 on Dr Pepper Value Days, every Tuesday and Thursday. Fairgoers must be Big Tex Insiders to receive the promotion code; you can sign up now at BigTex.com/Insider.

North Texas Food Bank Wednesdays
One of the best deals continues to be North Texas Food Bank Wednesdays. By bringing five canned food items, fairgoers will receive admission for only $5. All canned donations go to the North Texas Food Bank, which helps feed members of the community.

Senior steal
Guests age 60 and older had it made in the shade in past years, as they were able get a discount ticket every day. That deal is now gone, but they'll still have Senior Days every Thursday, when they can get in for just $5.

Thrifty Thursdays
Guests can save while snacking during Thrifty Thursdays, when participating food vendors offer one of their signature menu items at a reduced price, ranging from mini versions to regular-sized items.

Discounts on midway rides
Now designated as Thrilling Tuesdays, that day of the week is a great time to go to the fair. Not only can you get your $10 Dr Pepper ticket, you can save more inside, when all rides (except for thrill rides and the Texas Star) are discounted.

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San Antonio Missions hit home run with new owners, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio's minor league baseball team scores new owners, including Texas sports legends. San Antonio's minor league baseball team is back to being locally owned — by some big names.

2. H-E-B unveils new line of merchandise for super fans, available exclusively at this store. Kerrville was chosen to launch the company's new line of H-E-B-branded merchandise, in celebration of its 117th anniversary and in honor of its first store.

3. San Antonio market continues to see prices going up and sales going down. San Antonio home sales dropped 19 percent from October 2021.

4. San Antonio Rodeo wrangles even more musical acts for star-studded 2023. Turnpike Troubadours joined the already impressive lineup for the 2023 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.

5. San Antonio children's theater adapts timeless children's book for the holidays. Magik Theatre celebrates The Velveteen Rabbit as a Christmas story, with inclusive special performances.

Steven Spielberg opens up personal history in The Fabelmans

Movie Review

For over 40 years, director Steven Spielberg has been delivering some of the most popular blockbuster movies of all time as well as a bevy of Oscar-quality dramas, a combination that’s unique to him. For his latest, The Fabelmans, he’s decided to go more personal than ever, telling a thinly-veiled version of his own childhood.

Sammy (played mostly by Gabriel LaBelle) is one of four children – and the only son – of Mitzi (Michelle Williams), a concert pianist, and Burt Fabelman (Paul Dano), a computer engineer. From an early age, Sammy is enthralled by the art of filmmaking, first remaking a train crash sequence from The Greatest Show on Earth, and gradually moving on to more adventurous stories.

Burt’s advancing career, which moves the family from New Jersey to Arizona to California, causes stress for various members of the family, most notably Sammy and Mitzi. Sammy must deal with anti-Semitic bullies, while Mitzi falls deeper into a mental health crisis. Sammy’s movies continually offer a respite for the family, though, giving him a creative outlet and the rest of them a chance to forget their troubles for a while.

Written by Spielberg – his first writing effort since 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence – and Tony Kushner, the film is heavy on emotions but presented in a way that those feelings don’t always translate. Spielberg is no stranger to depicting fraught family situations in his long career, but in showing ones from his own family, it feels like he pulled back, not wanting the scenes to be overwrought or schmaltzy.

The result is a story that isn’t as universal as some of his other films. As the film is told from Sammy’s perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in his pursuits and various discoveries as he gets older. The mindsets of the rest of the family are less clear, even though his parents and sisters are ever-present. Mitzi’s state of mind is a concern from the start, but it’s not always treated as such by other important characters.

Just as Sammy’s movies are an escape for his family, so too are they some of the best parts of the film. Sammy figuring out the process and secrets of filmmaking is informative and often thrilling, especially if you’re a cinephile. Spielberg has been considered a master for so long that watching him revisit the days when he was learning as he went is catnip for movie lovers.

In addition to being a dead ringer for a teenage Spielberg, LaBelle is a fantastic actor. It’s no easy feat to carry a movie on your shoulders, and LaBelle makes the assignment look easy. Williams’ performance will likely be more polarizing; she employs a very mannered speech pattern that works in some situations, but not all. The film also includes memorable short appearances by Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, and David Lynch.

Spielberg has provided the moviegoing public with such pleasure over the years that he deserves to have a movie that’s mostly for him. The initial viewing of The Fabelmans left this critic wanting, but perhaps it will gain more traction on a second screening.

---

The Fabelmans is now playing in theaters.

Photo by Merie Weismuller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans

New self-guided tour showcases iconic Fort Worth Stockyards' many Hollywood ties

Tinseltown in Cowtown

A new self-guided tour showcasing the Fort Worth Stockyards’ many star-studded appearances in cinema throughout the years recently debuted in time for the 16th annual Lone Star Film Festival, which took place earlier this month in the Stockyards for the first time.

Called Stars of the Stockyards, the eight-stop, go-at-your-own pace walking tour guides folks to famous film sites where celebrities have stepped foot in front of Hollywood cameras. Visitors to the Stockyards can access the PDF tour map on their smart phones via QR codes (no app required) posted throughout the district, namely at hotels and tour kiosks.

"The Stockyards is a historic and celebrated destination for many reasons, but one that may be lesser known is its popularity as a filming location for some of our favorite movies and TV series," said Ethan Cartwright, VP of marketing for Stockyards Heritage Development Co.

The tour and corresponding QR codes are a permanent addition to the district, he said.

Stops on the map include the iconic White Elephant Saloon, a hotbed for Hollywood performances including several by legendary actor and martial artist Chuck Norris in the longtime TV series, Walker, Texas Ranger when the watering hole was portrayed as the fictional CD Bar. The White Elephant was also graced by country music superstar Tim McGraw and Academy Award-winning actor Billy Bob Thornton for their appearances in Paramount Plus’ hit series 1883.

Also in 1883 and featured on the tour is Hookers Grill, hidden in the less flashy West side of Exchange Ave. The burger shack transformed into a gambling den in the show called The Texas House of Liquor & Sport. It’s the only building in the Stockyards that preserved the façade constructed by 1883’s production team. During operating hours, customers can order at the outdoor burger window and dine at patio tables within the two-story structure.

Cowtown Coliseum is marked on the map for its appearances in the 1983 film Tough Enough, where actor Dennis Quaid played an amateur boxer. It’s also the home of the final rodeo scene in the 1992 movie Pure Country starring country music legend George Strait.

Billy Bob’s Texas, the Stockyards Hotel, and even unassuming historic cattle pens also make the list on the tour, along with notations for the Texas Trail of Fame, which features more than 240 bronze markers honoring contributors for preserving and perpetuating the Western way of life.

Veteran actors Sam Elliot and Robert Duvall, both stars in the megahit TV series Yellowstone, are among the most recent Texas Trail of Fame inductees.

For more information and to get started on the tour, go here.