There have been about $8 million in capital improvements at the sprawling state fairgrounds in west-central Missouri’s Sedalia in the past year.

Sedalia’s Nucor Steel has donated the entire building package for a new Director’s pavilion at the Missouri State Fair (2021 photo courtesy of State Fair)

State Fair marketing director Kari Mergen says that includes campground improvements, brick horse barn upgrades and major renovations at the sheep pavilion and the swine barn.

There’s also been a large donation for a new director’s pavilion near the Centennial gate, which is the area the popular governor’s ham breakfast is held every August. That’s always been a tent in years past. Missouri State Fair director Mark Wolfe credits Sedalia’s Nucor Steel for its generosity.

“So they donated the entire building package, which was 20 feet by 100 feet longer than what we were planning. What they’ve provided was freespan, so no interior columns or posts, really opened that up and just made a spectacular facility up there,” Wolfe says.

North Carolina-based Nucor, the nation’s largest steel producer, has opened a $250 million steel plant near Highway 65 in Sedalia. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new director’s pavilion took place in March 2020, just before the pandemic hit. State Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Chris Chinn notes it’s the first time we’ve seen investment in the state fair in nearly a decade. Nucor provided all of the steel for the pavilion.

The governor’s ham breakfast will take place on August 19 in Sedalia. More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the breakfast, which is one of the biggest political events in Missouri each year.

MDA director Chris Chinn says the State Fair’s sheep pavilion had been an eyesore. It has now received major upgrades (2021 photo courtesy of Missouri State Fair)

Construction crews have also been busy in other areas of the fairgrounds. Director Chinn tells Missourinet that the new sheep pavilion is a huge upgrade.

“It was something that was kind of an eyesore for the Missouri State Fair and now that is one of the nicest facilities on the state fair (property). It’s got a bathroom on-site, it’s been really great for those families who are showing in the sheep pavilion,” Chinn says.

Visitors to next month’s Missouri State Fair will also notice the campground upgrades and a new exhibitor campground. Director Chinn says there’s also been major electrical work in the swine barn.

“We had a lot of lighting issues and we repaired some of the electrical problems as well as a gutter system on the west annex of that building,” says Chinn.

She says there are also 137 new campsites that have power and sanitary hookups.

The 119th Missouri State Fair will take place from August 12-22 in Sedalia. This year’s fair theme is “Our Missouri Celebration,” referring to the state Bicentennial.

The 2020 state fair was canceled, because of the COVID pandemic. There were outdoor youth livestock showings last August.

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