Missouri’s agriculture showcase returns
What a difference a year makes! One year after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of most of the Missouri State Fair activities and left the event as a youth livestock show, Missouri’s annual agriculture showcase is back in full, taking place in Sedalia from Aug. 12-22. The event has grown by leaps and bounds since the first fair in 1901 hosted 25,000 visitors. In 2019, that number had jumped to more than 337,000.
The state fair has something to offer everyone, whether you stop by for a single day to catch a concert or you park your camper for a multi-night adventure. Fairgoers can take in everything from a demolition derby or rodeo at the State Fair Arena to unforgettable, stomach-churning rides in the midway to the quintessential food the fair is known for. Many Missourians show off their green thumbs in contests seeking out the largest fruits and vegetables — including the Rural Missouri-sponsored Largest Watermelon — in the Agriculture Building. Others will vie for a myriad of livestock competitions while the Home Economics Building will play host to events such as the Gourmet Mac ‘n Cheese and Fruit Cobbler cooking contests.
This year, the Missouri State Fair coincides with the Show-Me State’s bicentennial celebration. Activities include the Opening Day Parade honoring the bicentennial, the display of the bicentennial quilt and much more.
Be sure your state fair adventure includes a stop at the Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives Building, located across from the grandstands on the south end of Missouri State Fair Boulevard. The building is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and showcases the work Missouri’s electric cooperatives continue to do to make rural Missouri such a great place to live and play. Ground-source heat pumps keep the building cool and offer a reprieve from the late-summer heat. Co-op personnel will be on hand to answer questions, and there are displays on energy efficiency, safety and statewide cooperative youth programs.
Stop by the Rural Missouri area of the MEC Building to enjoy a variety of our award-winning photos and videos on display, talk to a staff member and read some of our readers’ favorite stories from the past few years. Our popular “People From Our Pages” will be back giving guests the chance to interact with some of Rural Missouri’s story subjects. You and your family can get your picture taken in front of a mural depicting Rural Missouri mascot Buddy Bear, or you can meet him in person if you visit the building at 10 a.m., noon or 2 p.m. daily from Aug. 12-21.
Other opportunities inside the MEC Building include checking out an electric vehicle on display, chatting with employees of Missouri’s electric cooperatives and viewing displays highlighting Missouri’s bicentennial. Attending college or a trade school this fall? Missouri’s electric cooperatives are offering four $500 scholarships. The MEC Building is the only place the applications can be picked up or turned in. Winners will be chosen by a blind drawing and must have a permanent Missouri address and be a member in good standing of an electric cooperative.
The MEC Building will also play host to author Linda Paige Shelby — daughter of Satchel Paige — on Saturday, Aug. 14. Linda will be signing copies of her book, “Satchel Paige at the State Fair,” that details the lessons the pitching great taught his children on trips to the Sedalia fairgrounds.
Seeking a thrill? Head on down to the popular Missouri State Fair midway. There’s something for everyone to enjoy. From free-falling down tall slides to a gentle spin in a Ferris wheel, you’ll find something just the right speed for you and your family. If you’re planning on spending considerable time at the midway, save money by purchasing single-day unlimited ride wristbands. Check the state fair website for prepay discounts. Be sure to visit the fair on Friday, Aug. 20, for Missouri Electric Cooperative Day and clip the coupon from this page to save $5 on the wristband.
Many Missourians will be looking forward to the state fair’s traditional breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options after having to miss out in 2020. If you leave the fair hungry, you have no one to blame except your mirror. Traditional fair fare like cotton candy, pizza by the slice, turkey legs, deep-fried Oreos and root beer are available. The Pork Palace or the Beef House are great places to sit down and enjoy a pork burger or steak salad.
The grandstand will be the place to be at night with a full music and entertainment schedule. Trace Adkins kicks off the first night of the fair and is followed through the 11 days by acts such as Boyz II Men, The Beach Boys, Greentop native Rhonda Vincent, Hank Williams Jr. and more. The grandstand will also play host to sprint cars and a truck and tractor pull.
The possibilities are endless for your Missouri State Fair adventure. Gather your friends and family, and try and pack two years worth of fair experiences into your visit to Sedalia.
For more information about concerts, exhibits and more, visit www.mostatefair.com.
People From Our Pages Schedule (Inside the MEC Building)
Aug. 12 — Check out some of the unique boutique items and upcycled creations available at ReMade for a Purpose in Fulton.
Aug. 13 — Marvel at the colossal-sized flowers that Cole Camp metal artist Bill Brackett crafts from cold steel.
Aug. 14 — Take in the gorgeous turned wood art created by Steve and Valerie Doerr of Joplin at The Wooden Doerr.
Aug. 15 — You’ll be transported to the days of Huck Finn as Richard Garey excites with his Mark Twain impression and watch watercolorist Jim Peters use paint — and a few more distinctive liquids — to create his nostalgic works of art.
Aug. 16 — See the custom, old-time banjos of Snowbird Banjo Co. hand built by Jeremy Myers in Ava and watercolorist Jim Peters.
Aug. 17 — Be inspired by the handcrafted creations from members of the Lake of the Ozarks Carving Club.
Aug. 18 — Marvel at some of the old radios of yesteryear that radio revivalist Eric Miller from Bonnots Mill has humming again.
Aug. 19 — See the beautiful reclaimed wood products made by Jon and Debbie Ortmann of Ortmann Woodcraft and visit with bladesmith Bobby Walker of Devils Backbone Knives.
Aug. 20 — Unique skills abound as feather painter Tina Richards of Hollister and milliner Rose Monzyk show off some of their best work.
Aug. 21 — Old is new again with the reclaimed furniture that Brad and Callie Page of Centralia create at their shop Reclaimed and Earl Mullins will pique your interest with items from The Space Museum in Bonne Terre.