State Fair of Texas General Manager retires after 56-years – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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The State Fair of Texas is a staple for many, but for Bob Hilbun, the State Fair has been his life.
“When you look back on it, this has really been a humungous part of my life,” Hilbun said. “I just like the people-watching!”
Hilbun is Senior Vice President and General Manager of the State Fair of Texas. He is retiring this year after working at Fair Park for 56 years.
“I was gonna try and make it to 60, ’cause you know, nice round number,” Hilbun said. “But the more I thought about it, I just kept thinking, no, this is just the right time to make that move.”
Hilbun started working at Fair Park 56 years ago at the Coliseum when it had an ice rink inside. He was a part-time ‘ice guard.’ Over the years, he moved up to maintenance and engineering and finally moved into the general manager’s office. Now he’s packing that office up, getting ready for retirement.
“I’ve been packing for, like, a week,” Hilbun said taking some of the 56 State Fair of Texas plaques off his wall. “I don’t know where all of this stuff came from!”
Hilbun has seen the fair through good times and sad.
‘When Big Tex burned,” Hilbun said. “Yeah, that was a terrible memory.”
He also led the State Fair of Texas through resilient times during the pandemic, when they offered drive-thru concessions.
“They wanted those Corny Dogs still, regardless,” Hilbun said.
After he retired this year, Hilbun said he won’t be gone forever.
“I may end up with a part-time job out here next year at the fair! Can’t exactly pull myself away to drop dead, I’m never coming back again,” Hilbun said. “I’m gonna miss a lot of people.”
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