Opening weekend at the Texas State Fair was epic and my friends and I were there for it. It was our first time attending the fair, and we were excited to experience what we consider the trifecta of activities: food, football and fun.

We kicked off the festivities with a visit to Pearlie’s Southern Kitchen for some good old-fashioned southern cooking. The aroma wafting from behind the counter beckoned to us, and we were more than happy to oblige. We indulged in hot honey chicken, sweet potato pie waffle sliders, collard greens and smoked turkey and gouda soul rolls and were not disappointed. The food was amazing and just what we needed before the big game.

The energy was electric walking into Cotton Bowl Stadium. Football fans donned in their favorite team gear filled the bleachers to watch Prairie View A&M University and Grambling State University battle it out for State Fair Classic bragging rights. Prairie View A&M was up 27-0, and we were anxious to see the halftime show. The Prairie View A&M Marching Storm took the field first and dazzled us with their performance. Not to be outdone, the Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band put on a fantastic show and reminded us of their status as the “World Famed Tiger Marching Band.”

Grambling rallied in the second half of the game with two touchdowns, but Prairie View A&M emerged victorious, winning the game 34 - 14. The fair seemed to come alive as nighttime fell. The rides and booths were lit up in a variety of neon hues. The Texas Star Ferris Wheel glowed a beautiful blue against the night sky. We strolled through the State Fair Midway and decided to be adventurous. I was instantly transported back to childhood as I whirled, spun and zipped about on various rides. I had forgotten how feeling your stomach drop and your heart race can be both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. It was great!

The fair was the perfect combination of nostalgia, good food and good times. We will go again.