Today marks the start of an eleven-day period when Sedalia is the center of Missouri agriculture. A lot is familiar at the State Fair: the sights and the smells, the variety of animals, canned goods, sewing exhibitions, the funnel cakes and the hot dog venders, .the midway—and the heat.

The long-range forecast for the first half of the fair, at least, is for temperatures of 95 to 99. Fair Director Marion Lucas says the fair will help people cope. He says every building people use–except the 4-H building–is air conditioned now.

Animals have to be kept cool, too. The livestock buildings are not enclosed, generally, but Lucas says a lot of fans will be used to keep the animals from becoming too stressed. Pigs will run races in the heat, but Lucas says they’ll just be out of their barn for short times. He says they’ll have plenty of water and have fans blowing on them all the time.

This year’s fair is a homecoming event for Lucas. He left the fair 22 years ago to run the state fair of Iowa for 16 years. He came out of five years of retirement to return to Sedalia.

The fair goes through the 19th.

Download Bob Priddy’s story (:60 mp3)