Concerts, Horsepower & Agricultural Exhibits Top Attractions For 2016 Missouri State Fair
The 2016 Missouri State Fair offers a blend of family fun and adult revelry through its mix of exhibits, concerts and vendors. This year’s theme, “See What Crops Up,” emphasizes the agricultural roots that have been a long-standing focus of the annual event. The fair is scheduled to run Aug. 11 to 21 at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri.
“We’re a very agriculture-oriented state and our fair has stayed true to its roots over 114 years,” Fair Director Mark Wolfe said. “So, we’re proud of that fact and plan on continuing that for a very long, long time. We’re ready to go. We’ve been working all year on this. I think we’ve got a great program, great show. The best of the best in Missouri agriculture is going to be here.”
The youth involved with the fair are always a huge focus for the staff as they develop plans. According to Wolfe, the emphasis is on the children participating in or attending the fair.
“FFA and 4-H are a big part of what the fair’s about,” Wolfe said. “We’re promoting these youth and some of the sharpest kids you’ll ever meet in your life are wearing that blue jacket out of FFA. That’s a great program and really builds future leaders. Our agriculture director right now, at the department, is a former FFA state officer.”
Wolfe says his favorite part of the fair is going to the children’s exhibits.
“There’s not a more fulfilling thing than to stand there and watch a little 8-year-old girl out showing her sheep,” Wolfe said. “It doesn’t really matter if she wins or not, you know. She’s proud to be out there and it’s a big deal.”
The Missouri State Fair also offers a wide-variety of activities for adults. Exhibits, competitions and concerts help make it a family affair. According to Wolfe, there will be an array of new activities this year.
“There are a lot of new things in terms of the facility but also in the competitions we do,” Wolfe said. “One thing we’re really excited about this year, we’ve got a new eight-horse hitch draft show on the last day of the fair, Sunday, Aug. 21. We haven’t done that before, so that’ll be a lot of fun.”
New cattle breeds, sheep pavilion events and home economics activities will be present this year. The Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pulling Association (OTTPA) are returning after a 10-year hiatus.
“If you like big time horsepower, you won’t want to miss that,” Wolfe said. “Most of Sedalia will hear it. Their theme is “Thunder in the Dirt.”
Concerts are always a huge draw for the Missouri State Fair. This year’s line-up includes 3 Doors Down, Lady Antebellum, and Brett Eldridge.
“We tend to run a little heavy on the country side,” Wolfe said. “That seems to be what the bulk of our fair-goers like. We’ve got a lot of folks that like the classic rock. So, we’ve got a great show on that first Saturday with Steppenwolf, Foghat, and Molly Hatchet. If you’re a 70s rock guy, you’re going to enjoy that show.”
Missouri local Chris Janson is playing Tuesday, Aug. 16. LOCASH is opening up for Janson. The full concert line-up and tickets are available at www.mostatefair.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
According to Wolfe, it is a long, arduous process to build the concert line-up each year. Landing a specific artist is often difficult because of scheduling conflicts.
“In the concert world, they’re routed through areas across the country and other countries,” Wolfe said. “A few years ago, we tried to get Florida Georgia Line but we couldn’t because they were in Europe. We were fortunate to get them the next year.”
While concerts and agricultural events may bring fans to the Missouri State Fair, it’s always the food that steals the show. A variety of vendors will be there to serve guests fair favorites from corndogs to funnel cakes.
“Fried foods are always a big hit,” Wolfe said. “Most of them aren’t too bad. We did try the deep-fried Kool-Aid a few years ago. I’ve got to tell you, I don’t think that was going to fly.”
Special ticket packages for the fair and rides are currently available through Orscheln Farm & Home, Break Time gas stations, Walgreens, and the Missouri State Fair grand stand. Purchasers will save $2 off advance tickets. Walgreens is selling three different packages. They are for multi-days, all-day rides, and adult admissions. Deals are also available at www.mostatefair.com.
“If you’re planning a trip to the fair, or if you’re just curious, go to our website,” Wolfe said. “All of that information is right there. It should be fairly easy for you to search through and find out information. If you’re an exhibitor planning on entering an event out there, obviously there are some critical deadlines for those entries to be in. If you’re planning that, you need to be checking to make sure you don’t miss those deadlines.”
For more information, call 1-800-422-FAIR (3247).