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Missouri State Fair ‘will go on’ — at least some version of the annual event


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — When it comes to the Missouri State Fair, it seems the show must go on. 

“The State Fair has only been canceled one time in over 100 years, and that was during World War II,” Gov. Mike Parson told reporters Thursday. “As an [agriculture] governor, somebody who comes from the farm, I don’t want it to be the second time on my watch that it’s canceled.” 

“The State Fair will go on — some version of the State Fair,” the Republican governor said, suggesting possible shorter hours or fewer days at the annual event. 

The Missouri State Fair also confirmed it plans to move forward as scheduled for Aug. 13-23 in an email Thursday afternoon. 

“The mission of our fair has always been to showcase Missouri agriculture, so our livestock shows will continue to honor that tradition. Details for our vendors, sponsors, and other partners are still being determined,” the email said. 

“We know you will have a lot of questions moving forward. Our plan is to evaluate the many details of our traditional fair and place those considerations in front of our governing body, the Missouri State Fair Commission. As we have more details, we will broadcast that through our website, social media pages, and media partners.” 

Parson said he “doubts” a ham breakfast or concerts will occur at the gathering but noted the planning process is still ongoing.

Earlier this week, the Iowa State Fair Board voted to cancel its event — which had been scheduled for the same days as Missouri’s fair — for the first time since World War II. However, the board left open the possibility for other livestock shows in August, the Des Moines Register reported

“We tried every which way in the world to put together a plan that kept people safe and that also completed the mission of the Iowa State Fair,” Iowa State Fair CEO Gary Slater told the newspaper. But “it became a challenge to have a fair that we could all enjoy and be proud of.” 

Parson also announced Tuesday that Missouri would be fully reopening as of June 16. While an emergency declaration will remain in place through 2020, a statewide health order will not be in effect as Missouri moves into the second phase of the reopening process. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.