Nearly 340,000 enjoy annual tradition in 2019.
Governor Mike Parson and Missouri State Fair Director Mark Wolfe announced the attendance total for this year’s Missouri State Fair. Final numbers confirm that 337,112 individuals attended the 11-day Fair this August.
“For more than a century, the Missouri State Fair has been second to none, showcasing the best of Missouri agriculture. We are proud it has stayed focused on our state’s number one industry year after year,” Governor Parson said. “Even with this year’s strong storms and severe flooding, our farmers and ranchers have remained committed to sustaining Missouri’s agricultural roots and keeping the industry strong for future generations.”
Successful gate promotions, moderate weather and special celebrations helped to contribute to the success of this year’s State Fair, including milestone anniversaries for the Gerken Dairy Center with 20 years and the 40th anniversary of the Pork Place. Smokey Bear turned 75 this year at the State Fair on Missouri Department of Conservation Day.
Special promotions on Farm Family Day, Law Enforcement and Firefighter Appreciation Day and Military Appreciation Day, among others, offered fairgoers a variety of activities in which to participate. Military was celebrated every day at the Fair in a new special Military Flag Retreat Ceremony that took place each evening at the flag pole just inside the Centennial Entrance. Ten veterans and one active duty military service member were nominated for this special honor and were recognized at the Fair.
The annual State Fair food drive and Drive to Feed Kids campaign had great success in 2019, raising $175,000 and collecting nearly 17,000 pounds of non-perishable food for childhood hunger. Missouri FFA hosted its third annual Food Insecurity Service Day as part of the Drive to the Feed Kids, bringing 750 Missouri FFA members and agriculture industry leaders to the Fair for a packing event that resulted in 128,460 meals packed to feed families of six people. In addition, 1,740 backpack meals were packed by government officials and agriculture leaders.
“One of the events that I am most proud to be a part of in my time as Fair Director is the food drive initiative,” Fair Director Wolfe said. “2019 marked the ninth year for the food drive at the Missouri State Fair and in those nine years, more than 60 tons of food have been donated.”
More than 4,000 Missouri FFA and 4-H youth participated in the State Fair with building demonstrations and exhibits and showing livestock. There were 27,245 livestock and competitive entries exhibited, continuing the Fair’s mission to cultivate future leaders in agriculture and promote excellence in Missouri agriculture.
“There is no other event that brings more people together in our state to celebrate agriculture than the Missouri State Fair,” Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn said. “I’m so proud of the State Fair team who works countless hours and remains dedicated to showcasing agriculture to all fairgoers.”
Events promoting youth in agriculture were well supported. The Governor’s Ham Breakfast had more than 1,000 in attendance, and raised $22,700 from the auction of the grand and reserve grand champion hams and grand champion bacon. The Sale of Champions auction raised $156,300. A portion of those funds are used to benefit Missouri youth involved in agriculture through scholarships.
The 2020 Fair will be held Aug. 13-23 in Sedalia.