Hot days ahead for Missouri State Fair

Missouri State Fair officials know the weather could still be extremely hot on opening day, Aug. 9.

Periodic heat waves, even droughts, have been with the fair for over 100 years.

“The weather always plays a role in fair attendance,” said Tammie Nichols, a spokeswoman for the fair.

This year, fairgoers will be able to find relief in one of the air-conditioned buildings or misting machines distributed around the fairgrounds.

A performing sea lion — new to the state fair — will have the advantage of splashing in a pool all day.

Among the biggest names in this year’s lineup of performers will be Larry the Cable Guy on Aug. 17. On Aug. 18, George Thorogood and the Destroyers open for Hank Williams Jr., who is traveling the country on his “Taking Back the Country Tour.”

A 48-foot wall of historical photographs will show scenes from the fair over the past century. That’s one part of this year’s theme, “Celebrate Then and Wow,” in observance of the fair’s 110th anniversary.

Some may find that history interesting. Familiar problems and questionable dealings marked the state fair from its beginning at the turn of the century.

Accusations of “political fixing” followed Sedalia’s selection as the site of the fairgrounds. The official history says that when state fair officials arrived in Sedalia — the first stop on a tour of six prospective host cities — they were met by a small group of local businessmen who worked quietly to secure the fair.

And, like this year, 1901 was a drought year. The very first Missouri State Fair opened for a population of farmers worried about damaged harvests.

Nichols said there will be relief from the heat for people and animals alike at this year’s state fair in Sedalia, which runs Aug. 9-19. The many horses, cows, pigs and sheep present at the fair will be watched over carefully by their handlers, including a veterinarian, Nichols said. Depending on the weather, some animal shows may be rescheduled for earlier in the morning to avoid the hottest part of the day.

Admission to the fair is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $2 for children ages 6 to 12. Children age 5 and under will be admitted free.

On opening day, admission will be reduced to $2. Admission will be half price on the final day of the fair.

For more information, go to www.mostatefair.com or call 800-422-FAIR (3247).