The Missouri State Fair will go on, just not the show — or concerts, rather.
The Missouri State Fair will be Aug. 13-23, Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn said Thursday.
Gov. Mike Parson had confirmed last week that the fair would be held, but said events and activities might look different because of COVID-19.
Chinn said the only main feature of the fair that will not be put on this year is the concert lineup.
Everything else — including live stock shows and the carnival — is on as scheduled; the concerts are ticketed sales events, and many performers had already backed out, she said.
A one-day event at the fair, Drive to Feed Kids — where more than 100,000 meals for families in need are packed — will also continue in some form, Chinn said.
"We've purchased additional hand sanitizer stations, and we're going to step up our cleaning procedures and sanitation efforts," Chinn said.
She also said organizers feel comfortable holding the fair because of improving COVID-19 infection data and because the fair is not held in an urban area.
Sedalia, the site of the fair, had an estimated population of more than 21,600 people last July, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Sedalia Democrat reported last year that more than 337,000 people attended the fair that August.
"We see the continuation of the State Fair as part of Gov. Parson's plan to reopen the state," Chinn said.
Parson said the fair's traditions of showcasing the best of Missouri agriculture have continued for more than a century, it's only been cancelled once in the past 100 years, "and I don't want to be the governor that makes it the second time."
More details about the fair will be posted at mostatefair.com as they become available.
In terms of assisting Missouri agriculture's response to COVID-19 as an industry, Chinn said preparedness plans for the fall will be just like what the department has been doing.
"We're in contact with all the food processors that we work with, to make sure that they have an adequate supply on hand of PPE (personal protective equipment), to protect their teammates, and if they don't, we will help them connect with suppliers that have that PPE available to sell to them," she said.
Chinn said the department was able to help the industry this spring by waiving trucking regulations — encouraging trucks to carry increased loads of agricultural cargo — and also helping to address meat and milk supply challenges.