Not many events can claim all this: Competing critters. Marvelous music. Carnival contests. Rousing rides. Blue ribbon baking. Ridin’ & ropin’. Tough tractors. And more. Yep, you know what we’re talking about. But do you know this year’s details?

Photo courtesy of the Missouri State Fair

By Peg Cameron Gill

The Missouri State Fair has been an annual tradition since 1901. Fittingly enough, this year’s theme is “Where Traditions Grow.” Not only is the Fair fun—it’s a showcase for our state’s agriculture, agribusiness, domestic arts and, today, even fine arts. This year’s Fair runs August 10–20.

According to its website, the Fair “provides a setting for Missouri’s producers, agricultural leaders, and farm families to engage consumers in order to increase their awareness of our state’s strong agricultural heritage. The Fair fosters a better understanding of the important role of Missouri farm families and the agricultural community in assuring a healthy and prosperous future for all Missouri citizens.”

The Fair also offers a wide variety of entertainment. Some of this year’s musical must-sees include 3 Doors Down. The quintet’s many accolades include selling more than 20 million albums globally, receiving a Grammy nomination, earning two American Music Awards, and five BMI Pop Awards for songwriting, including ”Songwriter of the Year.” The band will be appearing with Candlebox. 

Tyler Hubbard is another act sure to draw a crowd. He’ll be performing along with Parmalee. Some of the other artists include Riley Green, with Randy Houser, and Nelly. Artists from a wide variety of musical genres ensure there will be something for every fan.

In addition, the Fair provides a safe environment where knowledgeable producers, teachers, and agricultural leaders can offer encouragement and recognition to Missouri’s youth as they participate in competitions and educational programs.

And speaking of educational programs, check out some of the 2023 Fair’s informative demos, classes and other offerings: View blacksmithing , milking, and firefighter demos. Enjoy Missouri Wine 101 classes. Watch the Chicago Honey Bear dancers. Meet and see the works of the different artists in residence throughout the Fair’s run. 

The Missouri State Fair strives to promote excellence in Missouri agriculture, to cultivate and support future leaders in agriculture, and to provide opportunities for the agricultural community to deepen people’s understanding and appreciation of agriculture’s role in their daily lives and the economy of our state. 

To that end, who can’t appreciate a delicious deep-fried delicacy like a funnel cake? Or some other type of fabulous Fair fare?

Photo courtesy of the Missouri State Fair

You can shop at the Missouri Grown Market in the  Agriculture Building while you’re at the Fair. From pears to pork, hundreds of fresh and nutritious products grown by the men and women of Missouri agriculture are available for you to buy. When you pick Missouri Grown products, you show your state pride and support your neighbors — the farmers and business owners who make Missouri so great.

One more thing: How about a blast from the past? Come compete in the Fair’s first ever Biggest and Best Bell Bottom Contest on the the Touchstone Energy Stage at 6 PM on Friday, Aug. 11. You could be the Bell (Bottom Jean Queen or King) of the Ball in any of four categories: Biggest bell bottoms,  best overall, most unique, and kids best bell bottoms.  Entry is free. A panel of judges will select winners who’ll receive gift certificates to Missouri businesses.

For a look back from a first timer to the  Missouri State Fair, click here.

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.