Missouri State Fair sees increased attendance

Nearly 350,000 people visited the Missouri State Fair this August in Sedalia.

According to Gov. Mike Parson and State Fair Director Mark Wolfe, that's a roughly 2.5 percent increase from 2022.

This year's fair's theme was "Where Traditions Grow."

And grow they have. State Fair surveys reportedly show family tradition as one of the top reasons for fair attendance.

Parson said the fair is a "longstanding tradition" for his family. He said he and his wife took their children to the fair when they were young and have continued to go with their grandchildren.

"No other event showcases Missouri agriculture like the Missouri State Fair, and we're proud of the exceptional work our team does every year to ensure more Missouri families can enjoy the State Fair," Parson said in a news release.

To showcase fair traditions, Wolfe said fairgoers were asked to share their traditions with event organizers and staff. Those traditions were shared on social media during the summer and put on signs at the fairgrounds, Wolfe said.

Wolfe also pointed to the Missouri Grown Traditions Scavenger Hunt as a way submitted traditions were highlighted.

Some of the other top reasons people came to the fair included fair goods and drinks, shopping, family-friendly attractions and shows, the agriculture showcase, camping and concerts.

The news release highlighted the sold-out Lainey Wilson concert and nearly sold-out Nelly concert as evidence of concert popularity this year.

The carnival was a hit as well. The carnival midway recorded its second-highest year for revenue, the release said, with the first Saturday, Monday and Tuesday setting records.

Matching increases in revenue and attendance, livestock and other competitive entries also went up. Missouri Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn said dairy cattle entries increased 37 percent and rabbit entries went up 30 percent.

Entries for hams, bacons, summer sausage, apiculture and horticulture also went up 33 percent, Chinn said.

All those entries amounted to more than 25,000 livestock and competitive entries.

"The Missouri State Fair is our state's largest agriculture showcase and a chance to celebrate Missouri's top economic driver," Chinn said. "The fair becomes the industry's biggest family reunion and is an annual tradition for FFA and 4-H families. People from across the state come to Sedalia each year to enjoy youth exhibits, carnival rides and food. It was wonderful to see so many people having a good time at the fair."