While the governor says the Missouri State Fair will take place in August in west-central Missouri’s Sedalia, he says it will look different than previous years because of COVID-19 concerns.
Governor Mike Parson (R) made the announcement during a statehouse press conference in Jefferson City on Thursday.
“The state fair has only been canceled one time in over 100 years and it was during World War II,” Parson says. “As an ag governor, I guess I want to say somebody that comes from the farm, I don’t want it to be the second time on my watch that it’s canceled.”
The state fair will take place August 13-23. In response to questions from Missourinet, Governor Parson says there could be shorter hours and that some popular events may not happen.
“I doubt there will be a ham breakfast because it’s the governor’s ham breakfast so I doubt that I’m going to be asking for that, that I know of for that,” says Parson.
The 2019 governor’s ham breakfast was a sellout, with 1,000 tickets sold. The event is popular because of its food, but also because it’s an opportunity for Missouri voters to meet the governor, their congressional delegation and state lawmakers from both parties.
Governor Parson says details for vendors and other partners are still being worked out.
“More than likely there’s not going to be concerts there, there may not be a lot of vendors there, but again we haven’t sat down with (Missouri State Fair Director) Mark Wolfe and the (State Fair) Commission, so I don’t want to jump in front of them, we’re all trying to plan that together,” Parson says.
Governor Parson emphasizes the state fair is about supporting agriculture and youth in agriculture.
The Missouri State Fair has issued a statement, which says the fair’s mission has always been to showcase Missouri agriculture, “so our livestock shows will continue to honor that tradition.”
The statement also says they know the “countless hours our exhibitors and Fair families have put in to taking care of the livestock and 4-H and FFA projects,” and that their priority continues to be the promotion of excellence in Missouri agriculture and our future agriculture leaders.
More than 337-thousand people attended the 2019 State Fair.
The first Missouri State Fair took place in 1901, when Missouri’s population was two-thirds rural.
The state fairgrounds, which covers 396 acres, is open year-round in Sedalia. It also provides facilities for horse and livestock shows, arts and craft festivals and camping.
Click here to listen to Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s comments about the 2020 Missouri State Fair in Sedalia to Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and other Capitol reporters. The governor spoke in Jefferson City on June 11, 2020:
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