Fun Five at the Missouri State Fair

Enjoy the fun of the Missouri State Fair, Aug. 11-21, 2011, in Sedalia.

The Missouri State Fair officially is underway in Sedalia. For the next 11 days, people will flock to the Missouri State Fairgrounds for fun, food, carnival rides and games, food, concerts, food, livestock shows, car races, truck and tractor pulls, and, in case I didn’t mention it, food.

There are countless reasons to plan your trip to the Missouri State Fair (Aug. 11-21), which showcases the important role agriculture plays in Missouri. But I’ll offer up my favorite five, in no particular order:

Yes, it weighed 130 pounds.

Food – Big surprise here, huh? I tend to think of the Missouri State Fair as an 11-day vacation (even if I only get to go a couple of days) during which any and all diet plans go out the window. Funnel cakes, I’ll eat ‘em; corn dogs, make mine a double; snow cones, a refreshingly cool taste that takes me back to childhood. And I didn’t even mention the massive produce you find, including 100-plus-pound watermelons — but they won’t let you eat those. Darn!

Fun – The Missouri State Fair offers a great opportunity for family fun before the school year begins anew. It’s hard to beat the sight of a smiling child after he/she steps off a fun ride or has just won a prize at one of the many games. There’s plenty of fun for grown-ups, too, including events such as wine and cooking classes, and special demonstrations.

Concerts – One of my favorite Missouri State Fair memories is attending a Keith Urban concert in 2005. Keith put on a great show, and I’m sure this year’s lineup of performers, including country star Jason Aldean, will be wowing crowds for the next 11 days. Jason’s show begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday Aug. 13, at the Pepsi Grandstand. Also, the Missouri State Fair marks a homecoming of sorts for Missouri’s own Rhonda Vincent (known as “the new queen of bluegrass”). Her show is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17, at the Pepsi Grandstand.

Friendly folks – From those who work at the Fair to those who attend, Missouri State Fair-goers are among the most friendly people you’ll ever meet. Everyone’s on-hand to have a good time, and I always enjoy meeting and talking with the folks there.

Food – I don’t think I mentioned it yet, but the Missouri State Fair is a great place to eat. Among my favorite stops are the Missouri Beef Industry Council and Missouri Pork Association’s dining halls, known as the Beef House and Pork Place. I like to walk in, place my order, then look a server in the eyes and say, “Give me all you legally can give me.”

Now’s the time to head over to the Missouri State Fair to enjoy fun, food and time with your family. Stop by the Missouri Division of Tourism booth in the Ag Building to say hello to an MDT staffer and a representative from one of our many wonderful cities around the state. Come see us and pick up your free Missouri travel materials, including the 2011 Official Missouri Travel Guide.

We’ll see you at the Fair!