After being canceled in 2020, the Missouri State Fair will return to normalcy this year, organizers say.
Fair Director Mark Wolfe said it will be a traditional fair, with star-studded concerts and celebrations of the state's agricultural industry. The 2021 Missouri State Fair is scheduled Aug. 12-22 in Sedalia.
"We have been referring to this year's fair as a traditional and normal Missouri State Fair," Wolfe said. "If you came in a recent previous year, you can expect to see many of your favorites, and we hope you will find something new to experience, as well."
The State Fair Grandstand will have a full lineup of everything from carnival rides to concerts. Some concert headliners include Hank Williams Jr., Trace Adkins, The Beach Boys and Boyz II Men. The State Fair Arena will host a variety of events, including tractor pulls, bull-riding competitions, motocross races, a demolition derby, and the Show-Me State Stampede and Rodeo.
Missouri is celebrating 200 years of statehood in 2021. As part of the bicentennial celebration, the Missouri State Fair will have several activities and exhibits available. On Aug. 12, the Opening Day Parade is themed "Our Missouri Celebration" to commemorate the bicentennial. The Missouri Bicentennial Quilt, which has a quilt block representing each county in Missouri and the city of St. Louis, will be on display to showcase Missouri's unique culture. Attendees can also learn about the history of Missouri and buy bicentennial- related merchandise.
On Aug. 19, agricultural leaders and elected officials will gather at the 68th Governor's Ham Breakfast. Missourians can partake in the annual meal, which features country-cured ham and other products from around the state.
Missouri is seeing some of the nation's highest numbers of COVID-19 cases due to the easily spread delta variant, and some are concerned about the risk of transmission at the Missouri State Fair. Wolfe acknowledged those concerns and ensured the fair's commitment to protecting attendees' safety.
"As with any public venue, there is always a risk," Wolfe said. "We are working under the guidelines of state and local health officials and being purposeful in our efforts to make the grounds as safe as possible, not just for COVID-19, but for any other risks."
Wolfe discussed the fair's COVID-19 precautions. Additional hand sanitizer and hand-washing stations will be available, and the janitorial staff has increased disinfecting efforts. Wolfe said masks will be available and attendees can wear a mask if they choose.
"We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic, work with state and local health officials, and communicate with our many partners," Wolfe said. "Right now, we are operating with the expectation that the traditional fair will take place. Currently there are no additional guidelines being implemented."
The 2020 Missouri State Fair was canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A youth livestock show was held in its place for Missouri 4-H and FFA students to exhibit their projects.
"Those kids work year-round on those projects, and it was great to be able to give them the opportunity to showcase their hard work," Wolfe said.
The first Missouri State Fair was held in 1901. The Missouri State Fairgrounds is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the oldest fairgrounds in the country.
Adults can currently pre-purchase gate admission tickets for $10. During the fair, adult tickets are $12, senior tickets are $8, youth tickets are $3 and children younger than 5 get free admission.
For more information about the Missouri State Fair, visit mostatefair.com.