State Fair Announces Cooking Contests, Live Music Lineup

After a year away, the State Fair is once again ready to put home chefs and bakers through their paces in the 2021 Cooking Contests.

This year’s event will feature 14 contests throughout the Fair’s 24-day run, all with the potential for some blue ribbon food.

Pre-registration is now available online at, where you can also download the 2021 Cooking Contest handbook. Although pre-registration is not required, it is requested. Contestants may register the day of the contest online or when they turn in their entries. Blank entry forms will be available on-site the day of the competitions. The cooking contests join the other creative arts competition opportunities, including virtual creative arts and arts & crafts contests.

Due to health and safety-related to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Big Tex BBQ & Chili Challenge and the cook-offs will not be held in 2021.

In addition to the cooking contests, the Best of Show Cookbook is now available for purchase online. Featuring the best of the best over the past decade, this year’s cookbook celebrates the recipes that took home the top prize in their category. To purchase the cookbook, please visit

The State Fair also announced its lineup of free live music, with a total of 77 acts featured as part of the lineup hail from Texas.

The Chevrolet Main Stage is an outdoor venue with a huge festival-type stage and experience, as well as an ADA-compliant area for guests needing special assistance. Health and safety of all parties involved – fairgoers, performers, and staff – remains the top priority. The Fair will adhere to all applicable CDC guidelines in place during the concert series, as well as any local, state, or federal guidelines. For more information on the Fair’s COVID-19 precautions, see

Clay Walker

Kicking off this year’s free concert series, Texas-born Clay Walker will take the stage at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24. A recording artist, songwriter, and entertainer with 31 charted singles, a dozen number one hits, four platinum albums, and decades of performances, with hit singles like Live Until I Die, Rumor Has It, and She Won’t Be Lonely Long.

As part of the State Fair Classic football game celebrations on Saturday, Sept. 25, Dru Hill brings their signature R&B style to the stage, starting at 2:00 p.m. Known for How Deep is Your Love and Never Make a Promise, the group recorded seven Top 40 hits over their decades-long career.

Dru Hill

Also performing on September 25, four-time Grammy-nominated group hailing from Austin, Black Pumas make their State Fair debut at 8:30 p.m. Self-describing their sound as “Wu-Tang Clan meets James Brown,” the band have sold out multiple tours across North America and Europe. Their first single Colors hit number one on the Billboard Adult Alternative chart and has been streamed more than 57 million times across a variety of platforms.

Closing out Opening Weekend, chart-topping Latin band La Energia Norteña will electrify crowds on Sunday, Sept. 26 at 8:30 p.m. The group’s signature sound mixes modern and contemporary elements rooted in the northern music style of “Chihuahua,” which highlights the saxophone and accordion.

Acts like Little Joe & La Familia, Shinyribs, Kevin Fowler, Grand Funk Railroad, Mike and the Moonpies, Jack Ingram, comedian Bill Envgall, Sugar Ray, Le Freak, Elvis Presley tribute artist Kraig Parker, Charley Crockett, and the Last Bandoleros, will round out the musical offerings, along with regional acts performing as part of the Lone Star Music Series.

In addition to the Chevrolet Main Stage, live music can be found across the grounds. The Bud Light Stage, located centrally in Cotton Bowl Plaza, will showcase local and regional talent all 24 days of the Fair.

The Wine Garden Stage, located outside the Go Texan Pavilion, will feature a Friday night comedy series, titled “Deep Fried Comedy,” along with live music throughout the week.

For a full list of performers and schedules, click here.

The 2021 State Fair of Texas kicks off in 100 days, opening on Friday, Sept. 24, and running through Sunday, Oct. 17. Season passes are on sale now. Visit for more information, and to purchase tickets.

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