By Kristina Rowe, NewsCastic
When folks started calling Dallas “Big D” in the 1930s, city leaders didn’t like it much, but the nickname stuck. Radio personality Lee “Pop” Myres coined the term and Frank Loesser immortalized it in the song “Big D” from his musical “The Most Happy Fella.” So we know where the name came from, but not why it came about.
Perhaps it’s because Dallas has long been a city of strivers, reaching for bigger and better things. We think there’s no shame in being Big D, and the desire to be the biggest has spread all over DFW.
From the obvious to the obscure, from the serious to the silly, here’s a list of 20 of the biggest things in DFW you won’t find anywhere else.
To Be Fair
To be fair, we have to start with the State Fair of Texas, which is the largest state fair in the U.S. Sadly, Texas Star is no longer the biggest Ferris wheel in America, but Big Tex is, by any account, the biggest cowboy anywhere. The historic Fair Park is also home to the biggest collection of Art Deco public art and buildings in the world.
A Mean Pinball
The collection of pinball machines at Nickelrama in Garland is one of the biggest around. And if you’re only counting games you can play with nickels, they win hands down.
Little Houses on the Prairie
The Munger Place neighborhood is on the United States National Register of Historic Places, and has one of the biggest collections of Prairie-style homes in America.
It’s been called America’s largest “contiguous” arts district or its largest “urban” arts district, but can’t we just call it the biggest? Covering 19 blocks and 68 acres, the Dallas Arts District hosts an astonishing array of visual and performing arts facilities.
The Biggest Little House in Texas
The biggest house in Texas, Champ d’Or, is modeled after one of the most elegant chateaus in France.
Let’s Go Honky Tonkin’
If you like your culture a little more lowbrow, head to Fort Worth to Billy Bob’s Texas. It’s remained the world’s largest honky-tonk since it opened 35 years ago.
Should Have Been a Cowboy
The biggest daily cattle drive is not really all that big, but it’s the biggest by default. The Fort Worth Herd’s walk through the Historic Stockyards District is the only twice-daily cattle drive re-enactment in the world.
On a Bronze Horse I Ride
Not to be outdone, Big D has their own version of a cattle drive, with 49 steers and three cowboys on horseback — made of bronze. Modeled after the original Shawnee Trail cattle drive, “The Trail Drive” in Pioneer Plaza is the world’s largest bronze sculpture installation.
Bells and Whistles
The biggest permanent model train display in America can be found in the lobby of Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. Coincidentally, Dallas also has the longest light rail system in the country.
Dig the Dinosaur
That giant singing, dancing purple menace is from Dallas. Maybe we should call him our biggest regret?!?!
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the “largest gathering of people dressed as turkeys” happened in Dallas in 2011, and they were running all over the place. The Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot is still one of the country’s biggest Thanksgiving Day races.
Mmmm, thoughts of Thanksgiving turn our thoughts to food, and when we think big, we think pizza. Serious Pizza, that is, home of the 30″ pizza.
Bob’s Steak and Chophouse
A decades-old restaurant review of Bob’s Steak and Chop House mentioned a porterhouse steak “the size of your head” and we’ve never forgotten that phrase. Those steaks and chops (and glazed carrots and baked potatoes and desserts) are undeniably big.
Off Site Kitchen
Google “the size of your head” plus “DFW” and you’ll find a very appetizing assortment of goodies, mostly of the food variety. Just don’t do it when you’re hungry. We like the idea of a big, big burger — and you can get your hands on one at Off-Site Kitchen.
Big Dinner Plans
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The largest outdoor formal dinner table anywhere might be the one at the annual Night Out on 15th event in Plano. They actually set up a dining table that stretches down 15th street in historic downtown Plano.
A Lot of Mouths to Feed
Denton Bible Church owns the land, but the community owns Shiloh Field, the largest community garden in the U.S. Volunteers raise fruits, vegetables, and eggs to donate to nonprofit food providers. Co-op plots are also available to families and individuals who want to raise their own food. We think that big idea came from some really big hearts.
Make Me a Sammich
Project PB&J, part of the Which Wich Cares Foundation recently teamed up to #spreadthelove at the biggest sandwich making party ever. Participants at the event at the Gaylord Texan Hotel set a new world record for the most sandwiches made in an hour — 39,303, to be exact.
One of the biggest and best success stories of a DFW local is the rise of Kelly Clarkson, the first winner of American Idol. Just like Justin, we here in DFW love Kelly.
Who can forget #alexfromtarget – one of the biggest viral social media sensations to come out of DFW? Plenty of young girls still remember this hometown hottie, but we’re ready to move on. Maybe to #chewbaccamom from Grand Prairie?!?
You can find the biggest Texas-shaped pool in Texas up north in Plano. Okay, so maybe it’s the only Texas-shaped pool in Texas. But when the heat index hits triple digits, it’s the only place we want to be.