Faith, work ethics drives devoted employee


By Warren Black

Bernard Sessions has gone from sneaking into the State Fair of Texas to guarding the gates so others can’t follow in his childhood footsteps. 

Bernard Sessions (pictured above in red) has been working at the State Fair of Texas for 52 years.
Photos courtesy of Warren Black

When he was growing up, Sessions and his friends liked to hang around Fair Park. Back in those days, the Dallas Cowboys played in the Cotton Bowl from their founding in 1960 through the 1971 season, when Texas Stadium was built. He remembers fondly sneaking into the Cowboy games and being confronted by the stadium attendants and the police. The police were annoyed and baffled about how the boys were sneaking into the stadium. The young boys told the police they just loved the Cowboys and were willing to take the risk of going to juvenile detention to see them. The police had mercy and empathy for them and bought them popcorn and sodas and allowed them to attend the games. 

Sessions was born at Parkland Hospital at 10:30 p.m. on a Thursday night in 1959. He is the child of a hard-working father who was in the construction business and helped build Marsh Lane, and his mother, who raised 10 children — six boys and four girls. His mother was also a part time maid. They lived in South Dallas, where Sessions attended Madison and Skyline High School. He was married in 1980 and had six children — three boys and three girls. Sessions’ wife died in 2016 of breast cancer, as have two of his daughters. He has 11 grandchildren. Sessions currently lives in Pleasant Grove. He tries to live a clean life attending Cornerstone Church on MLK Blvd. Sessions has lived in Dallas his entire life. 

Fair Day was one of Sessions’ favorite times of the year as a child. All the schools in North Texas give the children a day off from school and a free fair ticket. He said his parents were always working and could not take them to the fair but made sure he could go. 

Sessions loved going to the fair with his friends. When he told his buddies that he would like to work at the fair one day, his friends laughed at him.

When Sessions was 13 years old, he got his first job at the State Fair helping at a lemonade stand. He remembers how annoying the bees were while trying to make and serve the lemonade. Sessions has been working at the Fair ever since, in various positions, now for 52 years. He has had many different jobs throughout his years at the Fair. 

When asked about how the fair has changed throughout the years, Sessions said, “It just keeps getting better.”

Sessions also got a job with Steve Moore, Sr. who owned Moore Industrial Disposal, the trash collection vendor for the State Fair. He has guarded many of the gates at the State Fair, with the last 13 years at the exclusive Gate 3, where the media, vendors, celebrity chefs and other VIPs park. Sessions is responsible for training many of the new hires, and is admired by his co-workers as one of the many people who make the Fair so special each year.

When asked about the people he has met at the Fair, he fondly remembers meeting Dallas Cowboys Tony Dorsett and Drew Pearson, also Vince John, Greg Fields, Chris Brown and, one of his favorites, is Heather Hays from Fox 4 News. He says: “I love people and making them laugh. You can’t buy love; you have to live it.”

Sessions gets up early in the morning and meets his friends for coffee before catching the 5:01a.m. DART bus to get to Fair Park. He depends on DART every day. Sessions polices and cleans up his parking lot every day to ensure the Fair goers don’t step in or have to see garbage. Sessions “likes neatness.” He thinks the DART train has been a great improvement for the Fair. When asked about how the fair has changed throughout the years he said, “It just keeps getting better.” 

Some might find being on the fairgrounds so early in the day an unsafe situation. Not Sessions. He said: “Every morning, I take God with me. Everyone knows how and when they got on this earth, but no one but God knows when they are leaving this earth.” 

Sessions is 64 years old. He had triple bypass surgery in 2018 and now his heart and kidneys are being regularly monitored. He credits his girlfriend, Annette, for giving him courage and standing by him during his difficult stint in rehabilitation. He says now, “There is not a lazy bone in my body.” He doesn’t like when he hears people complain that they can’t find work. He says: “Just go out and ask for a job and be willing to work. You can make a few thousand dollars out here and they are always hiring.”

Sessions has a passion for mentoring young people, and His faith in Christ is very important to him. Sessions said he thanks God every day that he had a strong mother that taught him to thank God for all his blessings (and that everything was a blessing). She taught him good lessons, he said, and spanked him when he was bad. 

He likes being a parent, father or brother figure to those in his community lost in addiction. Sessions talked about the frustration of seeing many Christians only get charitable during the Christmas holidays for a few weeks a year. His philosophy is: “If you help them consistently over a period of time with their homelessness, addiction, joblessness, or lack of faith, they will improve, and crime, homelessness and joblessness will improve.”

Faith, loyalty, friendship, work ethics and love are alive and well at the State Fair of Texas, thanks to devoted employees like Bernard Sessions.