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11 Things not to miss at the Missouri State Fair

Missouri State Fair is Aug. 10-21. Here are 11 things to do in 11 days at the fair.

Mindy Ward, Editor, Missouri Ruralist

August 5, 2016

5 Min Read

Nothing beats the smell of a corn dog on the carnival midway or the taste of chocolate ice cream from the dairy barn. Finally, my food cravings will be satisfied as the Missouri State Fair kicks off Aug 10. I am sure to hit almost every food stand favorite during the 11-day event in Sedalia.

But there is more than just me breaking my diet for the state fair. Here are 11 things you might consider adding to your stops during this year's Missouri State Fair, but don't worry there are a few food items on the list.


1. Opening day deals. 2 for $4! Who doesn't love a bargain? This is one of my favorite days to sample the food fare. I will always get the 2 for $4 corn dogs, but last year my family tried the cinnamon rolls. Wow! We ended buying more to save for the rest of the week. These rolls came in handy on early show days. Visit the food vendors Wednesday, Aug. 10.

2. Cowboy up. I cannot shoot a gun straight while standing still. So, when cowboys and cowgirls mount a horse and ride through the Mathewson Arena shooting at balloons, it is impressive. And the horses, they are so calm and agile. Take a seat in the air conditioned Mathewson Exhibition Center Thursday, Aug. 11 at 6 p.m., and watch the action. It will not disappoint.

3. Livestock show day. Friday, Aug. 12, is a big day for many 4-H and FFA members. It is the time to show that hard work can make for quality livestock. The poultry, market sheep and market swine show is always a highlight of the fair. Take time to encourage these youth by visiting the Poultry Building, Sheep Pavilion or Swine Barn during the day. 

4. Free entertainment. There are many free activities and entertainment at the Missouri State Fair. One year, with my nieces and nephew in tow, we stumbled upon the Touchstone Energy Stage to listen to watch a family-friendly show. This year the Mule Kicker Cloggers will be on stage Saturday, Aug. 13, at 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. It is a great break from the heat and provides some much need entertainment for the kids.

11 Things not to miss at the Missouri State Fair

5. Kids and sheep on parade. Sunday is a relaxing day for many state fair goers. Our family spends time in the Sheep Pavilion bleachers watching kids dressed up in wool leading their sheep around the arena. The Lead Line event starts at Aug. 14 at 1 p.m. and includes kids of all ages--even a few more mature showmen over the age of 40. This is a must see for cute kids and animal lovers.

6. Stock dog demos. My dogs are great around sheep, but they pale in comparison to the working stock dogs at the Missouri State Fair. The Show Me Stock Dog League Sheep Dog Trials take place Tuesday, Aug. 15, in the Mathewson Exhibition Center at 9 a.m. Stop by and watch them work.

7. Cock-a-doodle-do. It would not be the Missouri State Fair without the annual Rooster Crowing Contest. By Wednesday, Aug. 16, the field of top callers have been narrowed. At 2 p.m. in the Poultry Building the finals of the Rooster Crowing Contest will take place. It is something to see and hear.

8. And, their off! Pig races. Need I say more? This is another fair favorite. It is a way to keep the young ones engaged. They love picking their favorite pig and seeing if it will win. Check out Hedrick's Racing Pigs Show, Wednesday, Aug. 17, at 10:00 a.m., 12:30, 3:00, 5:30 and 8:00 p.m.

9. Pie anyone? I started attending the First Lady's Pie Contest 10 years ago. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of time and preparation that goes into these pies. But it is not just the pie, it is the presentation. Individuals decorate the table around their pies. Check out this year's winner, Thursday, Aug. 18, at 12:30 p.m. in the Home Economics Building.

11 Things not to miss at the Missouri State Fair

10. Talk livestock. This is a fun event that my daughter took part in last year. It involves youth telling their story about raising livestock. It runs throughout the fair, but Saturday, Aug. 20, you can see how the next generation raises beef cattle. Head to the Coliseum at 8 a.m. to visit with a youth and get up close and personal with beef.

11. A dairy fair finale. It is half price day Sunday, Aug. 21, with gate admission just $5. For that money, fairgoers can have a dairy good day. Attend a few 4-H and FFA dairy cattle shows at the Coliseum. Take a break and grab a glass of chocolate milk in the Missouri Farm Bureau Building and top off the day with ice cream from the Gerken Dairy Center. While you are there, take in the 700-pound butter sculpture. Truly, there is no better way to end the 2017 Missouri State Fair. It will make you want to come back for more.

Want to see more options and plan your trip visit mostatefair.com. See you around the fair!

About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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