The new director of the Missouri State Fair admits it’s disappointing that this year’s event won’t have rodeo, motorcross, bull riding, tractor pulls, or demolition derbies that are normally held at the State Fair Arena.

The ten-acre open-air field with metal bleachers needs an upgrade, which is coming in the form of a modern, indoor climate-controlled arena that could seat about 6,000 people. Director Jason Moore said the timetable for building the new arena meant sacrificing rodeo and motorcross events for this year.

“We did reach out to those people early on – they were certainly our first contact – to kind of let them know,” Moore told Missourinet. “I think, as a whole, they understand. One of the biggest issues that they struggle (with is) getting people to their events. Obviously (it will be) the middle of August and some days it can be extremely hot over there.”

Construction on the new arena is expected to begin sometime this summer, possibly during the State Fair itself, and it won’t likely be ready until March of 2026. The timing could also lead to cancelling some events next year as well.

“Is it possible that we can do that in the future if we get the electrical and sewer and water and things like that…to maybe put up some temporary-type arenas to be able to host?” Moore said. “We certainly didn’t want to just say ‘no’ for 2025 but we also are realistic enough to know it’s highly possible that we won’t be able to.”

The new arena will be built on the site of the current one. The 2024 Missouri State Fair will run from August 8th through the 18th.

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