Thousands of people are expected to travel Thursday to west-central Missouri’s Sedalia for the opening of the 2018 State Fair.

2018 Missouri State Fair logo (courtesy of the Missouri State Fair and the Missouri Department of Agriculture)

Governor Mike Parson (R) is expected to speak at Thursday’s noon opening ceremony, on the fairgrounds.

State Fair Director Mark Wolfe says one of the biggest changes in 2018 involves six nights of fireworks, which are being sponsored by Bryant Motors of Sedalia.

“Normally we have three (fireworks displays), so the first three nights of the fair, (and) the 15th, and then the 17th and the 18th the last Friday and Saturday of the fair we’ll have some really big fireworks shows,” Wolfe says.

You’ll also notice four new photo stations at the fairgrounds, featuring fair scenes.

There are also four new solar cell phone charging stations across the fairgrounds. They are available year-round.

The theme for the 116th Missouri State Fair is “Come Home.”

The State Fair’s public campground opened Thursday morning.

Meantime, Director Wolfe says one in five Missourians are hungry and that in parts of rural Missouri, one in three children face being hungry on a regular basis.

He says the 2018 goal is for Missouri FFA members and volunteers to pack 100,000 meals at the State Fair.

“We had about 300 or 350 FFA students that came in last year,” says Wolfe. “All the food was purchased in bulk and they set up down in the Lowell Mohler Assembly Hall and packed these meals and they packed 52,000 meals in a little over two hours.”

Wolfe says because of those 2017 efforts, 900 pounds of nutritious, fresh produce were donated to a “Feeding Missouri” regional food bank.

More than $146,000 was raised for “Feeding Missouri” to sustain food supply efforts throughout the year.

Children struggling with food insecurity are at greater risk of health problems and lower school test scores.

Missouri State Fair officials are encouraging you to bring canned goods to this year’s fair in Sedalia.

This is the eighth year the State Fair has conducted a food drive, and Wolfe says the “Missouri Farmers Care Food Drive $2 Tuesday” is next Tuesday, August 14th.

“The promotion is if you as a fairgoer, if you come to the fair that day and bring two canned food items with you, we’ll let you in for a $2 admission. Regular admission is $10, so it’s a pretty good discount and gives everybody a chance to give back to those a little less fortunate.”

The 2018 fair runs through August 19.

In addition to Thursday’s noon opening ceremony, the opening day parade will take place Thursday evening at 6 on Missouri State Fair Boulevard in Sedalia.


Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Missouri State Fair Director Mark Wolfe, which was recorded on July 30, 2018:

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