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State Fair Of Texas Makes New Rule For Minors

After last year’s false shooting scare, the fair decided on the new rule
Photo Credit: State Fair of Texas

For the 2023 State Fair of Texas, fairgoers aged under 17 who enter the fair after 5:00 p.m. will need to be accompanied by a parent, guardian or chaperone who is at least 21 years old. Additionally, all parents, guardians and chaperones are allowed to accompany up to six kids under 17 at a time.

The State Fair of Texas announced the new policy on Aug. 15, 2023, ahead of the new season starting on Sept. 29, 2023. 

“Public safety is our top priority. We are committed to providing a safe and welcoming experience for all who attend our annual celebration of Texas,” said Jaime Navarro, chief operating officer for the State Fair of Texas. “Comparable policies are being instated industry-wide, and the State Fair of Texas believes this policy is the best course of action to enhance the existing safety measures for all fairgoers, vendors and employees.” 

According to the Dallas Observer, the safety measures concerns stem, in part, from a 2022 incident, when a group of fairgoers caused a false shooting scare by running through the fair crowd and creating chaos. As previously reported by Local Profile, it was fortunately only a scare, and no one was hurt, but due to the incident, the fair had to close an hour earlier to address the situation. 

“Just in a matter of minutes, we were able to confirm that we didn’t have a tragic incident,” the director of security for the State Fair of Texas Jeff Cotney told WFAA at the time. “In fact, we were able to look at it by camera within minutes. We felt very good about what we had. But, still, we wanted to take some action just out of an abundance of caution.”

In addition to the new minors-after-5-p.m. policy, the fair added two new rules to its code of conduct that relates to the 2022 incident:

  • Behavior that is unruly, disruptive, offensive or illegal is not allowed on the fairgrounds.
  • Disruptive running is not allowed on the fairgrounds.

According to the Texas State Fair’s announcement, parents, guardians or chaperones that accompany minors to the fair will be required to present a valid ID upon entry at 5:00 p.m. daily, although once inside they are not required to remain with the minor throughout their stay. The fair does, however, encourage adults accompanying minors to remain in communication with them and be aware of their location within the fairgrounds.