Each year, August is a special time of celebration for thousands of Missourians. People come from all corners of the state to Sedalia for the Missouri State Fair, the state’s agriculture showcase.
For those of us in the industry, August is the state fair and has become as much a part of our calendar as the first day of school or Christmas Day. This year, the month of August means even more, as the Show-Me State celebrates its bicentennial.
On Aug. 10, Missouri will officially turn 200 years old. Celebrations are planned all across Missouri that day, and the days leading up to it. The state Capitol grounds in Jefferson City will play host to a full day of activities on this “Statehood Day.” Communities are holding ice cream socials and special readings at their local libraries. Many locations are bringing the bicentennial celebration to their annual festival.
The agriculture community will celebrate throughout the entire 12 days of the fair, with this year’s theme “Our Missouri Celebration.” State fair staff and Bicentennial Commission members have worked with a variety of groups and building superintendents to recognize Missouri’s special birthday.
Events at the fair
Visit the Women’s Building, the unofficial “home” of bicentennial activities on the fairgrounds. At this historic building, you will find a beautiful quilt with one block representing each of Missouri’s 114 counties.
Another feature is the Bicentennial Time Capsule. Hosted by the State Historical Society of Missouri, the time capsule will hold items representing our past and our present, with words of wisdom for those Missourians who open it on Missouri’s 225th birthday in 2046.
The 4-H Building boasts its own new quilt, featuring blocks made by 4-H members from across the state. The blocks celebrate the rich agriculture and 4-H history in those home areas.
Over in the Agriculture Building, our Missouri Grown team is celebrating the history of Missouri agriculture at its AgVenture area. Each year, AgVenture teaches Missouri’s youth about agriculture and how our food is grown.
This year, fairgoers will see how Missouri’s agriculture has changed. We will show you photographs of the Kansas City Stockyards in its prime and the Bootheel region when it was still under water. You can see a miniature history of farm equipment and watch videos showing the diversity of agriculture, the No. 1 economic driver in our state.
Come together to celebrate
The Missouri State Fair is the culmination of months, even years, of work. It could mean bringing a prized heifer or ewe lamb, raised on your farm, to the livestock show — or a pumpkin weighing hundreds of pounds that you have pampered all summer and just might be the largest one there.
For so many 4-H and FFA students, the Missouri State Fair means a cake project or perhaps a hay trailer built from scratch at the high school FFA department.
The state fair means seeing friends we haven’t seen since last year, or 2019 for many of us. Catching up with friends is always one of my favorite parts of the fair. It always means funnel cakes, ice cream and delicious food on a stick. It means visiting the Agriculture Building to see the winners of the ham and bacon contests, and walking the cattle barns.
But it also means celebrating the hard work and dedication of hundreds of Missouri’s next generation of farmers and ranchers. I challenge you to go watch a class in the Swine Pavilion. Go see a first-time exhibitor walk her market lamb into the ring. Find a project in the 4-H Building entered by a student from your county.
Our Missouri Celebration indeed!