Every year, I look forward all summer to the Missouri State Fair and memories to be made. I was about 5 years old when I attended the fair for the first time with my grandparents — a memory I have never forgotten. I remember walking the rows of farm equipment and sitting between grandpa and grandma in the Coliseum watching livestock shows. For lunch, we enjoyed a picnic on a blanket under a tree near where we had parked. It was the best day.
For many of us, everything about the fair brings back memories of fun times with family and friends. In 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, regular events were pared back and limited mainly to youth livestock competitions. Most traditional displays and competitions were postponed, as were the usual fair food vendors, the evening concerts, and the carnival midway.
This year, the fair promises to be bigger and better than ever. Sedalia is ready to welcome fairgoers back to celebrate agriculture, family fun, and Missouri’s bicentennial. The official theme, “Our Missouri Celebration,” fits perfectly with what I’ve been hearing in rural Missouri. Everywhere I go, I talk to people who are excited to be at the fair and celebrate the best of everything from all across our state. The 2021 Missouri State Fair will open Thursday, Aug. 12 and run through Sunday, Aug. 22.
Missouri Farm Bureau has been a leading sponsor of the Missouri State Fair for decades. This year at our building on the fairgrounds, we will be paying tribute to the contributions of farmers and ranchers to Missouri throughout its first 200 years. Visitors will be able to learn about some of the challenges Missouri’s early farmers faced, including how hog “drovers” herded pigs for hundreds of miles at times to get them to market through difficult weather and poor trails. Fairgoers can also learn about modern-day challenges including how black vultures are harming Missouri livestock and the ways Farm Bureau can help. We also will encourage Missourians to contact their elected representatives and tell them to oppose efforts in Congress to tax farms upon the owner’s death.
As always, fairgoers can cool off in our building with a refreshing 25-cent cup of milk, sign up to win a John Deere riding lawnmower, and learn about the benefits of Farm Bureau membership and Farm Bureau Insurance. Our children’s area is a fun stop for kids, and they can also learn about farm safety and more before they go.
Before you hit the fair, stop by your local Missouri Farm Bureau office for discounts on gate admission, carnival wristbands, and the truck and tractor pull. These discounts apply only on Monday, Aug. 16, which is Missouri Farm Bureau Farm Family Day at the fair.
Make your plans now to come to Sedalia and take in the fair experience. Whether it’s your first time or your 50th, it’s guaranteed to be a day you’ll never forget. I hope to see you there!
Garrett Hawkins, a farmer from Appleton City, is the president of Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization.