With perhaps as many as 25,000 to 30,000 people arriving to Sedalia and the Missouri State Fairgrounds this weekend, area businesses have been preparing for months in anticipation of the influx of patrons.
The International Harvester Red Power Roundup is being hosted on the Fairgrounds, beginning today and running through Saturday. The Fairgrounds will sponsor the Missouri Cattleman’s Association Junior All Breed Cattle Show Friday through Sunday at the Coliseum and the Boon Companions Dairy and Goat/Doe Show on Saturday and Sunday at the Swine Pavilion.
Both events are expected to bring in several hundred participants and visitors to Sedalia.
“This is a huge weekend for the Fairgrounds and Sedalia,” said Steve Allison, off-season events and concessions manager for the Missouri State Fair. “Events like this really do have an impact on the local economy.”
“We’re really not certain of the impact that this is going to bring to Sedalia at this time,” said Angie Thomas, executive director of the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce. “We do know that it will be significant.”
To show support for the upcoming events, the Chamber of Commerce is urging business employees to wear red Friday.
“We just want to encourage everyone to attend the events and show their support by wearing a red shirt on Friday,” Thomas added.
According to Allison, there are no vacant hotel rooms in Sedalia or surrounding communities available during the upcoming weekend.
“I’ve heard that everything is booked for a 50-mile radius,” Allison said. “We’ve got people staying as far away as Boonville and driving in each day,” he added.
“We are completely booked for the weekend,” Mykel Schlotterbeck, manager of the Comfort Inn in Sedalia, said. “ We committed three-fourths of our building to the Red Power Group months ago and had no trouble booking our remaining rooms.”
Many local restaurants are expecting to see added customers and several are offering discounts to participants in the roundup who wear their wristbands from the event.
“We’ve been extremely busy today as the people are coming into town,” said Bandana’s Bar-B-Q Manager Kristy Dawson. “We’re hoping to see a lot of new customers come in and try our food since we offer something different from the typical barbecue in town.”
The fairgrounds will also have a number of food vendors available throughout the weekend.
According to Allison, more than 11 local vendors who are familiar to fair-goers will be on hand. The Missouri Beef House and the Pork Place on the fairgrounds will also be open for patrons to visit.
“When you consider we have over 300 campers staying on the grounds this weekend, businesses like the gas stations and grocery stores should also be busy,” Allen added. “This weekend really is a mini fair for all of us.”