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June 10, 2009 | 12:00 p.m. CST
There are few things as distinctly Midwestern as a state fair. Missouri’s own annual State Fair, hosted by the town of Sedalia, is beloved by locals and tourists alike. For $8 (or less if you take advantage of discounts like Dollar Day on Aug.13 and $5 admission after 5 p.m.) the State Fair gives you the best summer steal. Bonus: children younger than 12 get in free.
Munch on some funnel cake and fried onion blossoms as you cheer on teenagers parading livestock in blue ribbon competitions, or ogle state-of-the-art John Deere machinery, or trade hunting stories at the Rural Lifestyles Showcase. For an adrenaline rush, catch the Missouri Rodeo Cowboys Association State Finals and cringe as cowboys in fringed chaps ride buckin’ broncos (or bite the dust). Don’t miss quirky fair favorites such as the miniature mule competition or the 2009 Missouri State Fair Idol at the Budweiser Stage. Where else can you sip on an ice-cold beer as you make Simon-worthy rips on a local’s rendition of “Before He Cheats”? Alternatively, be a part of history on Aug. 22 as Missouri attempts to wrestle back a world title from the Netherlands by setting off more than 2,000 soda fountains simultaneously on the fairgrounds.Related Articles
Yet, in keeping with the times, the State Fair has evolved beyond the requisite horse-and-hog variety show and will inject a modern eco-friendly vibe into the mix.
“We have a new three-day focus on science and technology designed to expand the interest of the fair beyond just agriculture,” says Tammie Nichols, marketing director for the Missouri State Fair.
The “MOre Fun with Science and Technology” exhibition will be a hands-on collaboration between everyone from Monsanto and Missouri 4-H to the Science and Citizens Organized For Purpose and Exploration (SCOPE) and will include robot demonstrations, innovative energy shows and a Go Green Show, hosted by Jason Lindsey of the television show Hooked on Science fame.
However, the biggest draw remains the Pepsi Grandstand concerts. Highlights this year include a free performance by the rock band Kansas on Aug. 16. Or if that’s not quite your style, shell out $25 for Grandstand tickets to see country music favorites Brooks & Dunn with Jamey Johnson on Aug. 22.
Despite their somewhat cheesy “MOre Fun Than Ever” tag line, the Missouri State Fair boasts an annual attendance of nearly 320,000 fairgoers, and it is an entertaining, affordable, PG-rated way to cap off a great summer.
The fair runs from Aug. 13 to 23. For a full calendar of events, ticket pricing and more general information, check out the Missouri State Fair Web site at mostatefair.com.