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State Fair plans to return fully this August

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri State Fair is set to return this August after COVID-19 sidelined most of its annual events in 2020.

“We are looking forward with confidence and with hope that the traditional Fair you have come to know and love will take place this August,” Director Mark Wolfe said in a statement. “We are planning an event that is steeped in tradition, along with bringing new and exciting things to experience during your visit.”

The Missouri State Fair is an 11-day event that began more than 120 years ago in Sedalia. It was originally created at the urging of the Missouri Swine Breeders Association and remains a competitive agricultural affair to this day. The 40th and 41st General Assemblies allotted a combined $65,000 to establish the site and begin construction on the fairgrounds before the first Fair on Sept. 9, 1901. 

Young Missourians remain the focus of the fair’s events, where they are able to prove themselves as the future of agriculture by showing off the animals they work tirelessly to care for. In addition, the competitive nature of the exhibitions teaches the youth new skills and how to be good winners and losers. 

Last year, all non-youth livestock-related events, including the Opening Day parade and ceremony, the Homegrown Singer Contest, and the Governor’s Ham Breakfast, were canceled. COVID-19 prevented the rest of the fair from happening as scheduled. 

But this year, the Fair has partnered with the Missouri Bicentennial Alliance and Commission to put on the event as a celebration of Missouri’s 200th birthday this year. 

Although vaccines are becoming more available to Missourians and some return to normalcy is expected this spring and summer, COVID-19 will still play some role in the planning of the Fair.

“The safety of our guests and staff is of utmost importance to us,” Wolfe said. “As we move forward with planning for the Fair we will be reviewing our cleaning and sanitizing protocols, along with the addition of more hand sanitizing and washing stations across the fairgrounds.”

The Fair has only been canceled one time, during World War II. It will be held in Sedalia from Aug. 12-22.

Madison Rudman contributed to this report.