The state fair is a rural institution, originally created by rural people for rural people, an outgrowth of the community and county fairs in a time when this nation was almost entirely rural. It is surprising, though, how many people from today’s urban areas like to go to the fair grounds each fall and wander through the cattle stalls, exhibits, and the poultry houses. There are some differences now, of course, but to sample a state fair today is to share many of the same experiences our ancestors shared at the first state fair in Missouri.

AOWM – October 3