Missouri State Fair returns for 121st year

File: People flock through one of the gates to the 2018 Missouri State Fair.
File: People flock through one of the gates to the 2018 Missouri State Fair.

The Missouri State Fair returns with plenty of fun for the whole family from Aug. 10-20 in Sedalia, where it's been held since it started in 1901.

Marketing Director Kari Mergen shared some of the new activities that they are most excited for fairgoers to experience.

On Aug. 11, there will be a "Biggest and Best Bell Bottom Contest" held at 6 p.m. on the day of Lainey Wilson's concert, with categories including "The Biggest," "The Most Unique," "The Best Overall," as well as a children's category for anyone 14 and under. Winners will win gift certificates for boutiques and the children's winners will receive carnival ride wristbands.

Fair organizers have partnered with the Center for Human Services to provide sensory and accessibility resource centers. It will offer people who are overstimulated or having sensory overload a quiet place where they can gather themselves so they can get back to enjoying the fair.

"It's something that we have not really had here at the fair and we're really excited about that partnership," Mergen said.

Along with the new activities, there will be plenty of family-favorites returning, such as the comedy Wild West show, "ShenaniGuns," which was a big hit when it was last at the fair in 2009, according to Mergen.

Other entertainment options that are fun for the whole family include live music, tractor pulls, livestock shows and contests.

For concert lovers, there is a long list of musicians performing this year.

The performers on the State Fair Grandstand include:

Tyler Hubbard, with Parmalee, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 10. Tickets range from $45-$50.

Lainey Wilson, with Jackson Dean, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 11. Tickets for Lainey Wilson are already sold out. A firework show will take place after the show.

3 Doors Down, with Candlebox, will be performing at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 12. Tickets range from $35-$45. There will be a firework display following their show.

Cory Asbury and CAIN will be performing at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 16. Tickets range from $25-$35.

A "Country Comeback Tour" will feature Shenandoah, Billy Dean, and Wade Hayes at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17. Tickets range from $20-$30.

Nelly, with Rahzel, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18. Tickets range from $40-$50. A firework show will follow his concert.

Riley Green, with Randy Houser, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 19. Tickets range from $45-$50. His concert will be followed by a firework display.

There are four ways to order Grandstand concert tickets. You can mail or fax the ticket order form, which can be found on the Missouri State Fair website, order on Etix, order by phone at 1-800-514-3849, or stop by the box office during business hours.

There's over a dozen other artists performing during the fair, so be sure to check out the Missouri State Fair website to schedule your visit.

As part of their annual partnership with Missouri Farmers Care, they will have $2 Tuesday on Aug. 15 to benefit Feeding Missouri. Donate a minimum of $2 to the drive for free admission to the fair or donate a minimum of two non-perishable food items to receive a coupon redeemable for $2 admission at the ticket booth.

"The food insecurity data says that one in five children in the state of Missouri are food insecure and so we're trying to do our part to help out that initiative to help combat that," Mergen said.

This year's theme for the fair is "Where Traditions Grow."

"We do surveys every year of our fairgoers and the number one reason people say they come to the fair is because it's a family tradition," Mergen said.

The results of the surveys led organizers to collect favorite traditions of fairgoers, which they have been featuring on social media with the goal being to not only gather the traditions, but share them with others so they can start new ones of their own.

The traditions will be on signs sprinkled throughout the fairgrounds as part of a scavenger hunt sponsored by Missouri Grown. Participants will then turn in the form to the Missouri Grown Market to receive a coupon to shop at the market.

The traditions that have been sent in so far range from 50-year-old family traditions to people saying "every year I have to go eat a corndog at this certain stand," according to Mergen.

Mergen said her best advice for people is to plan your day in advance to fit as much in as you can. A daily schedule can be found on the Missouri State Fair website, mostatefair.com

Admission tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (60+), $4 for children 6-12, and free for children 5 and under.

The fair is open 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. The fair is located at 2503 W. 16th St., Sedalia, at the intersection of Highway 65 and 16th Street.