Life in the “Hilton”


Sarah and Darby on green couch

“Come Home” is a theme I can relate to, considering I have literally called the Fair my home the past two summers. I grew up attending the State Fair almost every summer. My experience living on the Fairgrounds and working as an intern has given me a unique perspective of the hard work it takes to put on the Missouri State Fair each year.

Darby as a young exhibitor
The Missouri State Fair has always been one of the highlights of my summer, either showing or entering exhibits in the 4-H Building (pictured is me during the 2007 Fair with my project in the 4-H Building).

While living on the Fairgrounds, I have been a resident of the Historic Administration Building, or as we have grown to call it, the “Hilton.” It houses interns in the summer, as well as staff during the Fair. Year-round, the Historic Administration Building houses the Missouri State Fair Foundation Office and the Personnel Office in the summer. During the Fair, it will also house the Parking and Admissions Office, along with the Concessions and Revenue Office. It is a little known fact to most that the building has dorm style rooms on its top floor.

Old photo of the Historic Administration Building
The Historic Administration Building was built in 1927.

Life in the Administration Building can be boring at times. The most entertaining evening activities for me as a resident are going for a run around the Fairgrounds, or catching up on watching Netflix (there’s great Wi-Fi, courtesy of I-Land Internet Service). However every once in awhile, something interesting happens, including finding a mouse hiding under your bed, a bird flying around the building or the fire alarm going off because the light next to it got a little too hot! We have had many exciting evenings in the Hilton already this summer.

The decorations add a lot of character to the building. You can find about any color of couch you would like. There is no doubt they were donated by someone who no longer needed them. There are also many themed rooms, meaning there is a unique decoration around every corner. Highlights include the Scott Joplin room, the Trail’s End room, the Queen room, and my favorite- the peace sign themed bathroom in my room.

Darby on green couch
One of the many colorful couches in the Hilton; you can’t miss it, it’s lime green!

The Hilton also has some weird quirks to it. This includes the frame of a baby crib in the basement and the industrial toilet paper roll holders in the individual dorm bathrooms. The water pressure also rocks in the Hilton! Except when washing your hands, the pressure is so high that the water bounces off your hands and will splash you in the face if you are not careful.

Sarah and Darby on the steps of the Hilton
Sarah and I on the steps of the Hilton.

The Building lacks a conventional kitchen for the dorm-style rooms, but instead has a room with a few appliances in it. This consists of a refrigerator, a microwave, a toaster oven and a few other small appliances, mostly provided by the residents of the building. With a limited variety of ways to cook, I have learned to get creative with my meals. My favorite Hilton recipe is the homemade bagel pizza. Eating frozen meals can get old fast, so I make a bagel pizza using a bagel, pizza sauce, shredded cheese and pepperoni. It’s fast, easy, delicious and best of all, not frozen!

This year I live in the Building with Sarah who is another intern. Last year, I lived with two other interns in the Hilton, Allie and Julie. While living with these girls we have had many one-of-kind experiences and made a few funny memories. I have really enjoyed living with all three of them!

Living on the Fairgrounds is full of surprises and adventures, some good and some bad! Overall, I have really enjoyed my time living there, it has been a once in a lifetime experience. While living on the Fairgrounds the past two summers I have really felt the feeling of “coming home” when I drive through the main gate of the Missouri State Fairgrounds.

– Darby