State Fair continues to draw thousands, boost Sedalia economy

The 2016 Missouri State Fair was held during Aug. 11-21 in Sedalia, Missouri, as it has been for over a century, continuing to allow people from throughout the state and across the country to enjoy themselves while learning about agriculture.

According to its website, the State Fair has been held in Sedalia, Missouri, since 1899, when members of the State Board of Agriculture decided on the permanent location.

The Fair is an event that draws in hundreds of thousands of people every year. This year was no exception with at least 352,000 people attending according to Missouri State Fair marketing director, Kari Mergen. Youth involvement continues to be strong with 4,000 4-H and FFA students attending the fair this year,. One of the most popular events at the fair, according to Mergen, was the Lady Antebellum and Kelsea Ballerini concert on Aug. 20.

Some notable changes have occurred since the first Missouri State Fair in 1901, including changes in the breeds of livestock shown, meat and dairy quality preferences, changes from rural to urban attendees and an increase in the size of the fairgrounds. While the State Fair is a major event for the fairgrounds, the Missouri State Fair website says the fairgrounds are used more than 350 days per year. The City of Sedalia’s website mentions the State Fair as one of the major attractions for visitors from across the United States, as well as from around the world.

Attendance for this year closely resembles last year’s numbers, and some businesses in Sedalia said, just as in previous years, the fair dramatically increased their overall business.

According Crystal Mitchell, an employee of the Holiday Inn in Sedalia, the Missouri State Fair causes them to be “jam-packed for the entire two weeks.” She said they open reservations for the upcoming State Fair at the beginning of October and “all the spots are taken by the end of October.”

Kristy Dawson, assistant manager at Bandanas in Sedalia, said that the Missouri State Fair causes them to get a “decent crowd.” She said that a lot of the different Horse Show and Midwest Stud Ram Show people come in to the restaurant after they get done with their shows at the fairgrounds.

“It definitely brought a lot of business this year,” Dawson said.

With attendance numbers, participation and local business sales high, the Missouri State Fair will likely continue to be an annual attraction for folks from Missouri, the United States and beyond.

Olivia DeSmit

About the Author Olivia DeSmit

Hi! My name is Olivia DeSmit, and I am a junior double majoring in animal science and science and agricultural journalism at Mizzou. I am considering following a route to become an editor or writer for a farm or scientific journal/magazine. I have lived in Columbia, Missouri, most of my life. I was homeschooled up until attending Rock Bridge High School, where I was involved in the local FFA chapter and graduated in May of 2014.