Amber Fletcher was born into corny dog royalty. Daughter of the late Corny Dog King, Neil “Skip” Fletcher Jr., and granddaughter of Neil Fletcher—the inventor of the corny dog by decree of the Texas state Senate—she is the one and only Corny Dog Heiress.
Her grandfather Neil and great-uncle Carl debuted their fifteen-cent “meal on a stick” at the State Fair Midway in 1942. That was before the fair featured any other fried foods, the sacrosanct Big Tex, or the Big Tex Choice Awards, at which concessionaires have been competing for a top-ten spot in a gladiatorial fry-off since 2005. It is Amber Fletcher’s forebears the world has partly to thank for instituting the deep-fried frenzy that’s become synonymous with the State Fair of Texas.
A redheaded, yellow-clad spokeswoman, Amber started in the business at ten years old, the same way all the Fletcher relatives who still return to work the fair did: by “stickin’ dogs” for however long their attention spans lasted before wandering off for rides or a slice of pizza. Today they still do everything the old-fashioned way: “We could buy the meat already stuck. We could buy it already cooked,” Amber says. Instead, they do it just like her grandfather once did.
More than 25 years and millions of stuck dogs later, she is the face of Fletcher’s Original Corny Dogs (if you don’t count the mascot, Mr. Corny). She shares ownership with her brother, Aaron Fletcher, and cousin William “W. C.” Fletcher, who fill less conspicuous roles in building the third-generation family business. Her mother, Glenda Gale “G. G.” Fletcher, Skip’s bride of 39 years, still reigns as matriarch.
Skip was the first to drizzle the Fletcher’s corny dog brand with a distinct personal style. Although mustard is the Fletchers’ official answer to the Great Mustard or Ketchup Debate (the Dallas Morning News reported in 2012 that Skip and his brother, Bill, served ketchup to “appease the Yankees”), Skip was known for wearing red and flashing corny dog bling, such as a single gold corny dog earring and a larger, bejeweled corny dog necklace, which G.G. and Amber still wear today.
Two years after Skip died, Amber took a media training class, at which she was advised to continuously represent the brand, like her dad did. She started by sporting his color, red, but when she first wore a yellow jumper, she remembers, “Everyone was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s your color.’ ” She’s since embraced it with a closetful of mustard-yellow garb.
“My dad, for a man, he was quite fancy,” says Amber, wearing a golden yellow eyelet dress, a gold corny dog necklace, and her grandfather’s Texas-shaped gold-nugget wedding ring, to which her grandmother’s diamond was added after she died. The ring was bequeathed to Skip, who wore it daily, and then to Amber, who wears it when she’s missing her dad. She credits him for her casual-corny-chic style today—and for being so fervent in passing on the family business.
Now as Amber, with the Fletcher family, prepares to feed 2.5 million fair visitors 60,000 pounds of hand-stuck, hand-dipped weenies from September 29 through October 22, here is what she’ll be wearing for the busiest 24 days of her year.
Amber came across these comfortable, not-too-tight shoes last year when buying her customary new pair of sneakers for fair season. Since she will be on her feet for fourteen hours a day, trekking the fairgrounds’ 277 acres as she oversees the seven Fletcher’s corny dog stands, comfortable shoes are crucial. With corny dog batter and oil spillage, washable shoes are necessary, too. She’s given up on white, but these are the fair shoes she’s buying every year from now on.
Finding outfits suitable for working the fryers but also giving impromptu media interviews during a Texas September is a challenge, especially when Amber’s natural style is more like Adam Sandler’s, she says. Hot jeans are out, and khakis show dirt, but Athleta’s breathable golf skorts are versatile and perfect for Amber’s goal of representing the brand and looking like an owner, as her media coach advised.
The company’s best-selling T-shirt for over a decade, this vintage orange ringer tee was the Fletcher’s Original Corny Dogs uniform in the seventies. Mackenzie Carpenter, singer of “Country Girls (Just Wanna Have Fun),” donned it just last month when she opened at the TidalWave Music Festival, in Atlantic City. The design goes back fifty years.
Bandolier Hailey Crossbody iPhone Wallet in Red and Gold
“I’m not a big purse girl,” Amber says, so this crossbody wallet allows her to run around with all that’s most essential at the fair: a cellphone, an ID, and coupons. Not only can she bring it on the Crazy Mouse and the log ride, it’s also on her when she’s working the stands, where she never knows when she’ll need to snap a photo of a celebrity getting in line for a corny dog. Past visitors have run the gamut of politicians, athletes, and talk show hosts: Mikhail Gorbachev, Oprah and Gayle, Dirk Nowitzki, Julia Child, and Emmitt Smith—along with Governor Rick Perry, who has always been a corny dog lover.
With red hair and fair skin, “I have to wear my sunblock,” Amber says. For ten years, she’s used this tinted moisturizer with SPF 45 from Irving-based Revision Skincare. If she’s in a hurry, she can put it on with mascara and still have that put-together look. It also builds nicely with makeup and works during any time of the year, with any skin type, oily or dry.