This article is presented in partnership with the Missouri State Fair.

For lots of Missouri families, attending the State Fair in Missouri each year is a tradition. In my family it’s been passed down through the generations, and for others it’s a brand new experience. The fair itself is a mixture of both kinds of tradition. Each year there’s something new to see, and yet some components of the Fair date back from before Missouri actually had a designated State Fair. Let’s take a walk through time and look at some of the State Fair’s most proud traditions.

1. The Fair Itself

A Missouri Tradition since 1901, the State Fair was first proposed by a group of dedicated livestock breeders. In 1899 a bill establishing the State Fair was passed, and by 1901 the location had been chosen, buildings had been erected, and the fairgrounds opened for the first annual State Fair. 116 years later this tradition carries on right where it began in Sedalia.

2. State Fair Queens

In 1958 Kay Burns of Caruthersville was crowned the first State Fair Queen. This grand tradition of talent, leadership, and determination has been empowering young Missourians ever since. The 61st State Fair Queen will be crowned this year.

3. Agricultural Exhibitions

In many ways the history of the fair can be traced directly back to the tradition of agricultural exhibitions. The State Fair was preceded by an agriculture expo in Boonville all the way back in 1850, and it was livestock producers looking for a place to show off their prized animals who lobbied for the State Fair’s creation. Today families who’ve exhibited in the fair for generations still make the journey to Sedalia every year with the fruits of their hard work in tow.

4. The Midway

If you grew up attending the State Fair, no doubt you have fond memories of the action-packed carnival right in the heart of the fairgrounds. Whether you enjoy the ferris wheel, the yo-yo, or playing carnival games for prizes, The Midway is one of the State Fair’s most alluring attractions for the young and the young-at-heart.

5. Filling up on Hot Dogs, Cotton Candy, Ice Cream, and Iced Tea

Good food is in abundance at the fair each year, including fine BBQ and famous fair delicacies like deep-fried Oreos. A few State Fair staples like hot dogs, ice cream cones, cotton candy, and iced tea can actually trace their popularity to another famous Missouri fair, the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exhibition, or World’s Fair, held in St. Louis.

6. Amazing Live Entertainers

Live entertainment has always been a part of the State Fair, changing with popular tastes over the years from dance revues and choirs to top performers with legendary names. Look no further than Hank Williams, Jr. who will play this year’s fair on Saturday, August 11, for examples of the latter category. As usual there will also be a variety of entertainment including tractor pulls, mounted shooting, dog trials, a rodeo, and a fiddling contest.

7. Your Own Family Tradition

I grew up going to the State Fair every year. Sometimes I’d go with cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other times I’d go with friends. Around the age of 10 and for years after I could be found almost any day of the fair selling subscriptions to Missouri Life with my parents at our booth. Thinking of the State Fair always brings personal memories to mind, and no doubt that’s the case for countless other Missourians. Apart from the history, that’s what makes traditions so special—they mean something personal to you. As these traditions and many others we didn’t name here carry forward, we hope you’ll consider making the fair a part of your tradition.

The State Fair takes place from August 9-19 in Sedalia. To get tickets, check schedules, and get more information, click here.