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Things You Didn’t Know (Or Had Forgotten) About the Missouri State Fair

With the fair coming up on August 10, we thought it would be nice if you knew how the fair wound up in Sedalia.

1901 was when it officially became the Missouri State Fair, but did you know that things actually started a few years earlier in Boonville?

Before it all began as the fair as we know it today, not only were Missouri livestock breeders being recognized and awarded at national and international expositions but also in the crops categories. So, the State Agricultural Society established an exposition in Boonville in the 1850’s but the project folded after three years.

After resolutions were offered throughout the state for a fair, in 1899, Rep. C.E. Clark of Mexico introduced a bill, upon recommendation from Governor Lon V. Stephens, creating a Missouri State Fair. 

Sedalia wasn’t the only choice for locating the fair.  The State Board of Agriculture announced that its members would choose a location after visiting Centralia, Chillicothe, Marshall, Mexico, Moberly, and Sedalia.

Delegates from the different cities were on hand in Jefferson City touting their reasons why their community should be chosen. Even though there was much grumbling among defeated delegates and even some charges of “political fixing,” Sedalia was chosen. Sedalia received the majority vote with the highest bid (150 acres)

According to, two separate amounts of $15,000 and $50,000 were to be used to erect buildings and establish the site.

The first Missouri State Fair was held September 9-13 in 1901.

Missouri State Fair
Kurt Parsons



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