The primary election is over, and school doesn't start back for another week or so. What a perfect time for Missouri's entertainment event of the year: the Missouri State Fair.
Where else can you see Hank Williams Jr., watch a circus, see children's entertainers, go on carnival rides, eat diverse/delicious/deep-fried foods and even go camping?
The best part: It's just an hour's drive away.
Today is the start of the 117th annual Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, which runs through Aug. 19.
Regular adult admission is $10. Seniors, ages 60 and older, pay $7, and children 6-12 pay $2. But next Tuesday, adults can bring two cans of food and get in for $2. The food will be donated to Missouri food banks.
Between 350,000 and 400,000 people typically attend the fair each year, and there's something there for everyone.
One notable addition: Evening fireworks will take place on six days, rather than the typical two or three days of the fair.
But the heart of the fair has always been an agriculture showcase.
About 30,000 entries, nearly half from 4-H and FFA students, will be featured in the livestock exhibits and other competitions.
Fair Director Mark Wolfe said in a Tuesday News Tribune story: "We still, to this day, stay true to those roots of what the idea behind the original fair was, which was a place to come and show off your skills in growing this or growing that, or raising this or raising that, against your neighbor and the best of the best of Missouri agriculture — in a friendly competition."
Here in Cole County, 66 area youths are advancing to the state competition in categories such as food, gardening, visual arts, cake decorating, photography, horticulture and even welding. And that's just for 4-H members. That doesn't include FFA entrants and those who are entering independently.
So, if you have the opportunity, spend a day — you'll need at least a full day — at the Missouri State Fair this year. And be sure to stop by the Mid-Missouri exhibitors and give them some encouragement. These youth are some of the future leaders of our state.