When someone hears the word “Fair,” they may instantly think of fried foods, carnival rides, and concerts. What many may often forget about are all of the competitions going on daily at the Fair from early in the morning to late at night. Competitions involve anything from cured hams to dancing the Missouri Waltz and everything in between. Missouri is the “Show-Me State,” and the Missouri State Fair is the place for competitors from all over to compete for the best of the best in Missouri.
Although each competition varies, all competitors have something in common, effort. The number of hours each competitor puts in perfecting their entry is astonishing. Many start preparing for the Fair at the conclusion of the previous Fair. Competitors work all year prepping and perfecting their entry in hopes of getting a Grand Champion ribbon at the Fair.
Any time during the Fair you are guaranteed to catch some type of livestock show going on. Livestock shows vary from cattle, chickens, goats, horses, mules, rabbits, sheep, and swine. Each breed contains multiple classes of the breeds. Livestock exhibitors spend all summer preparing their animals making sure they are well fed, watered, groomed, and trained. Exhibitors often put their animal’s health and well-being before their own as they invest so much time and money into their animals. Many even develop a fondness for their animal and treat it as a pet similar to how someone may treat a pet dog.
Once the Fair starts, the livestock are brought to the Fairgrounds and placed in the breed specific barns. Fair weather typically means hot days, and exhibitors ensure their animals stay hydrated and are kept cool as best as they can, sometimes better than themselves. Exhibitors start prepping and grooming their animals hours in advance before the show making sure either their tails are teased, hooves polished, or feathers are clean and colorful. At the end of the show, animals are treated with rest and the exhibitors may not only be rewarded with a ribbon or premium, but also with a feeling of accomplishment of all of their hard work.
If livestock competitions are not your thing, you are bound to find a contest that interests you. The Fine Arts Building has photography, porcelain art, and an art competition called the Missouri 50 in which 50 pieces of a variety of art are selected as the best in Missouri. The Floriculture Building contains not only a variety of flowers but also bird houses, butterfly collections, and fairy gardens. For music lovers there is the Missouri Fiddling Championship, and for others there are contests for seniors dancing the Missouri Waltz, two-stepping, and line dancing. The Agriculture Building contains the Fair’s largest pumpkins and watermelons, best cured bacon and hams, beehives and honey, and types of cheese and ice cream. If you are looking for more unique contests you will find such things as the Auctioneer Bid Calling and Horseshoe Pitching contests that are just as interesting and competitive as the others. No matter the time or day of your visit to the State Fair, you will get to see some of the best competition in the “Show-Me State” of Missouri.
While planning your visit to the 2018 Missouri State Fair, check out the Judging Schedule for the contests going on each day and go watch a competition or show. Show your appreciation for all the exhibitors’ hard work and effort towards preparing their entries. Grab a corndog and a lemonade and go see the best in Missouri, you may be surprised at what you see.