Music stars, pig races: Missouri State Fair is about to start. What you need to know

·2 min read

If you think the Missouri State Fair is only about goats, pigs and cows, you might be surprised.

The celebration of Missouri’s agriculture, which dates to 1901, will have plenty more to offer — from big-name music acts and a midway to auto racing and all sorts of shopping — during its annual run that begins this week in Sedalia.

Here are some details:

The fair will run Aug. 11-21. Gates will be open 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, although exhibit buildings typically close at 9 p.m., and the midway remains open until between 11:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m., depending on the weather and “the carnival company’s discretion.”

Gate admission ranges from $3 (ages 6-12) to $12 (adults), but that’s fluid. Advanced admission of $10 is available through Aug. 10 at Orscheln Farm & Home Stores and Break Time Convenience Stores. Plus, several special rates are available, including $5 for adults on opening day.

Sedalia is about an hour-and-half drive from Kansas City via Interstate 70 or U.S. 50. But you might want to consider taking Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner, which leaves Union Station at 8:40 a.m. (from Independence or Lee’s Summit shortly thereafter) and arrives in Sedalia at 10:27 a.m. The return train departs Sedalia at 6:42 p.m. arrives at Union Station at 8:45 p.m.

Trace Adkins headlines an impressive list of big-name music acts at the State Fair. He will perform on opening night.
Trace Adkins headlines an impressive list of big-name music acts at the State Fair. He will perform on opening night.

Country star Trace Adkins will perform at 7:30 opening night in the grandstand arena. Tickets are $35-$45. Other big-name acts include Sam Hunt (Aug. 13), ZZ Top (Aug. 17) and KC and The Sunshine Band with The Four Tops (Aug. 19). Go to mostatefair.com/entertainment for the full grandstand schedule.

The 4-H activities, livestock displays and baking and gardening competitions (think huge watermelons and pumpkins) are, of course, the meat and potatoes of the fair. Highlights also will include the Budweiser Clydesdales, racing pigs, a BMX trick team, the Missouri Grown Trivia Challenge, truck and tractor pulls and sprint car auto racing.

And in case you’re wondering, the Kansas State Fair runs Sept. 9-18 in Hutchinson. See kansasstatefair.com for more.