Lone Star Lowdown
Noteworthy Texas Facts and Traditions
By Audrey Sellers
Texas Taste Buds
According to 2022 Taste Atlas data, these are the most popular foods in Texas:
Chili con carne
Texas sheet cake
Chili cheese fries
Central Texas-style barbecue
Mariano Martinez invented the frozen margarita machine in Texas in 1971.
State Animals of Texas
Small mammal: Nine-banded armadillo Large mammal: Texas longhorn Flying mammal: Mexican free-tailed bat Bird: Northern mockingbird Reptile: Texas horned lizard Insect: Monarch butterfly Fish: Guadalupe bass
The Lone Star State is home to more species of birds than any other state, which includes screech owls and hummingbirds.
Rain, Rain, Go Away
Texas holds the U.S. record for the most rainfall in 24 hours. During Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979, Alvin, Texas, got drenched with 43 inches in one day.
Texas is more prone to tornadoes than any other state, followed by Kansas and Oklahoma. The Lone Star State averages 155 tornadoes a year.
Texas is the only state with its own power grid. The U.S. power grid is divided into three sections — one for the west, one for the east, and one reserved for Texas.
Friday Night Lights
When it comes to Friday-night football, everything is bigger (and more expensive) in Texas. The Lone Star State is home to some of the nation’s costliest high school football stadiums:
Cy-Fair FCU Stadium in Cy-Fair ISD: $72.8M
Legacy Stadium in Katy ISD: $70.3M
McKinney ISD stadium: $70M
Eagle Stadium in Allen ISD: $60M
Woodforest Bank Stadium in Conroe ISD: $49M
Children’s Health Stadium in Prosper ISD: $48M
Alvin ISD Freedom Field: $41.4M
Grab Your Partner
The late Texas governor, Ann Richards, signed a proclamation in 1991 designating the square dance as Texas’ official state folk dance.
Texas’ Most Beloved Beaver
Road-trippers and locals alike are familiar with Buc-ee’s and its mascot, the “friendliest beaver.” The first Buc-ee’s opened in Clute, Texas, in 1982. Founder Arch “Beaver” Aplin got the name for the Texas-sized gas station and convenience store by combining his childhood nickname, the name of his dog, Buck, and the popularity of Ipana toothpaste’s animated mascot, Bucky the beaver.
Pedal to the Metal
Around 10% of Texas highways have speed limits of 75 mph or higher. In Central Texas, drivers can floor it up to 85 mph along a 40-mile stretch of toll road. It’s the highest speed limit in the nation.
The State Fair of Texas opens September 30 and runs through October 23. Here are some fun facts about the country’s oldest and longest-running fair.
The fair has been held at the same location — Fair Park — since its inception in 1886.
Big Tex was originally Santa Claus and didn’t join the festivities until 1952. In 1951 R.L. Thornton, the state fair president bought the Kerens Santa Claus for $750 (about $7,200 in today’s money) and repurposed him into a cowboy.
Presidential visits include William Taft in 1909 and Woodrow Wilson in 1911.
Elvis Presley played to a sold-out crowd at the Cotton Bowl in 1950, and the Beatles performed ahead of opening day in 1964.