Missouri State Fair

Where else could you see all the interesting things people grow in their gardens, in one place? Or find a Madagascar hissing cockroach? The Missouri State Fair, of course!

Josh and I have been going to the State Fair together for the past 28 years, and I've been going, myself, since age 3. It is one of my traditions of the summer. (The Madagascar hissing cockroach is the most kept cockroach species for pets, and this was one of the ways the Missouri Extension Service drew people in to their good bug/bad bug booth, which was quite interesting and informative).

The Fair is about families, kids, animals, prizes, gardens, food and information. It's all about prize winning vegetables, new gadgets, farm implements, new tractors, and lots and lots of animals. There's a pig barn, a rabbit barn with prize-winning rabbits, a poultry house with well-groomed, fancy chickens of all kinds, sizes and breeds. The hog barn, sheep and beef barns, all have the entries from 4-H kids, and Future Farmers of America boys and girls, from all across the state.

 I like to check out what the state's largest pumpkin weighs (738.2 pounds this year, grown by Kirk Wilmsmeyer).

Seeing all of the prize-winning vegetables is interesting to me. I like to compare what I grow to what won prizes. Sometimes I say, Oh, I can do that! Other times, it's more likely to be, Wonder how they grew it that big?

AgriMissouri, a project of the Missouri State Extension Service, does a good job of promoting Missouri agriculture and agri-products. We bought several things from the AgriMissouri store while at the Fair.

The Midway is always a big attraction in the afternoon, but it's at its best at night, when the whole place lights up like downtown Las Vegas.

There are always what I call the "velcro kids," you know the ones, teens who take a date to the Fair and believe that some body part, usually a sweaty hand or arm, has to be touching the other at all times. I was that kid once, myself.

Sunday was Military Appreciation Day (actually it was called, "Homegrown Heroes Day" and sponsored by Sprint) and the Fair had lots of Army, Marine and Air Force there. Buses from Ft. Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base brought in a military band and busloads of troups, all there enjoying the day. Hopefully lots of folks were telling them how much we all appreciate their service. As a Veteran myself, I could have asked for a discount on Fair admission, but it didn't seem necessary.

There were lots of political booths, booths for Conservation, a booth explaining about feral hogs in Missouri and how to control the problem. (It has become a serious problem in 20 counties in Missouri; I've seen them just a mile away from home and I'm sure they can destroy a garden in just one night).

Winning prizes, especially if you're 15-20 yrs., and have a date, is especially important. The games are a big draw for the kids and teens.

And even for the 40-somethings, winning a tiger for the girlfriend is still part of the Fair!

Bravado, like taking a ride on a mechanical bull to prove you're a man, to your friends, hasn't been lost through the generations, either.

Over the years that I've gone to the Fair, it has always remained an event that celebrates families, kids, agriculture and the food we grow in Missouri. The Fair runs from Aug. 12-22, in Sedalia, MO. I may have to go one more time this year!


Anonymous said...

we have our big fair going on right now, luv it;) great pics

Steven Anthony
Man Dish~Metro Style

Grumpy Gardener said...

This is the first time I've ever seen feral hogs holding hands.