As the Kansas State Fair and Farm Progress Show in recent weeks joined the long list of agricultural events canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Missouri State Fair is moving forward with plans for a somewhat modified fair starting Aug. 13.
In Missouri, the State Fair is under the purview of the Department of Agriculture, putting the go or no-go decision in the hands of Governor Mike Parson. Missouri State Fair Director Mark Wolfe told Farm Journal Live that the hard work of 4-H exhibiters played heavily into the governor’s decision to move forward with the fair.
“We're an agricultural state, these kids are the future of agriculture,” Wolfe said. “They've worked hard all spring to get ready to show their livestock and do those things and the projects that they've worked on, and so we want to give them every opportunity to come out here and exhibit and show what they've done. But first and foremost, we want to do it as safely as we possibly can.”
That means there will be some changes to the 2020 event, starting with the cancellation of grandstand concerts. Tractor pulls, however, are still on the schedule at this point.
The Missouri State Fair has some other advantages over other states in this year of social distancing. It’s not in a state capitol or large metropolitan area. It’s held in Sedalia, a town with a population of just more than 20,000. It’s a smaller state fair spread across some 400 acres.
“We have a lot of room, a lot of outside venues and opportunities for us to do this and hopefully we can work towards doing as safely as possible,” Wolfe noted.
Wolfe said the state is still evaluating other safety protocols such as whether masks will be required on the fairgrounds.
The Missouri State Fair is scheduled for Aug. 13-23. For schedules and additional information visit MoStateFair.com.