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Missouri State Fair Features Food, Music, Science and a Singing Toucan

Missouri State Fair, Sedalia photo courtesy of MO Division of Tourism

Missouri State Fair, Sedalia photo cour­tesy of MO Division of Tourism

American sto­ry­teller Garrison Keillor recently opined that, “the joys of a state fair are plea­sures that Google and Facebook and a com­puter in a cubi­cle can­not pro­vide, and that’s why some­thing deep in us still wants and needs a state fair.” Keillor describes the rit­ual of a state fair as a fes­ti­val of the senses, a feast of foods on a stick and a plunge into self-indulgence.

Missouri’s fes­ti­val of the senses, the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, begins Aug. 13 and con­tin­ues for 10 days com­bin­ing all of the joy­ful tra­di­tions of Missouri’s best event with a num­ber of new and excit­ing fea­tures that make Missouri’s state fair a des­ti­na­tion for all inter­ests and ages.

New this year are cook­ing demon­stra­tions fea­tur­ing some of Missouri’s most tal­ented chefs using locally grown foods and prod­ucts sold at the state’s many farm­ers’ mar­kets. Daily cook­ing events take place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the Agriculture Building. A State Fair farm­ers’ mar­ket allows fair­go­ers the oppor­tu­nity to pur­chase fresh pro­duce on the spot. Master gar­den­ers will also be on hand to answer home gar­den­ing questions.

The cook­ing demon­stra­tions are a part of the Rural Lifestyles Showcase in the Home Economics Building. The show­case includes classes cov­er­ing Sensible Living Tips, Ultimate Couponing, Living a Frugal Lifestyle and Online Shopping. Additional top­ics cover pot­tery, pho­tog­ra­phy and sculp­ture. Best of all, the classes are free with a gen­eral admis­sion ticket to the fair.

Another new attrac­tion comes to Missouri from the depths of a trop­i­cal rain­for­est. The “Rainforest Live Experience” show includes a singing tou­can, an 18-foot long albino Burmese python, and other ani­mals not often found in the Show-Me State. The inter­ac­tive shows include magic, pup­petry and edu­ca­tion about con­ser­va­tion efforts to pro­tect the world’s rainforests.

The envi­ron­ment is also the focus of an improved recy­cling pro­gram for the moun­tains of plas­tic, alu­minum and card­board waste gen­er­ated by the more than 300,000 vis­i­tors expected at the fair. Guests are encour­aged to use the eas­ily iden­ti­fi­able green bins donated by a num­ber of Missouri com­pa­nies. Last year’s pilot recy­cling pro­gram col­lected about 1,000 pounds of waste, of which 90 per­cent was recycled.

Three days of the fair, from Friday, Aug. 21 to Sunday, Aug. 23, will be devoted to spe­cial pro­grams and events pro­mot­ing sci­ence edu­ca­tion and fun activ­i­ties involv­ing sci­ence. An effort to break a world record of fizzing soda foun­tains, a com­bi­na­tion of Pepsi-Cola and Mentos, is sched­uled for 2 p.m. Aug. 22. More than 2,000 young sci­en­tists are needed to help break the record.

Toes will be tap­ping when the Fiddling Championship on Aug. 23 intro­duces a new level of com­pe­ti­tion on the offi­cial state instru­ment. Winners of the junior, senior and open divi­sions will com­pete in a play-off for the all-fair cham­pion title. Competitors are required to play a hoe­down, waltz and other dance­able selec­tions to get the audi­ence involved.

Music is always a high­light for fair­go­ers and the Grandstand will be buzzing with per­for­mances by clas­sic rock bands Kansas and Heart, an all-star per­for­mance of numer­ous coun­try music stars and the big event – Brooks and Dunn on Sat., Aug. 22. Check out the com­plete lineup of musi­cal per­for­mances in the Pepsi Grandstand.

An esti­mated 30,000 exhibitors, in addi­tion to a parade, car­ni­val, trac­tor pull and horse rac­ing events will fill the nearly 400 acres of the Missouri State Fairgrounds for 11 days. Camping is avail­able on the west side of the fair­grounds on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Opening day admis­sion to the Missouri State Fair is $1. Thursday, Aug. 20, admis­sion is $2. Otherwise, admis­sion is $8 for ages 13–59; $6 for ages 60+; younger than 12 is free. Admission is half-price on Sun., Aug. 23 and $5 every day after 5 p.m. Parking is always free.

For more infor­ma­tion about spe­cific fair activ­i­ties, call 800–422-3247 or 660–827-8150.

Daily sched­ules and com­plete details are avail­able at

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