The beginning of the summer fly plague heralds the coming of the Missouri State Fair. One of them bothered me just seconds before I sat down to write this column, and he’s still in the house.
And that means the time to talk about the Missouri State Fairgrounds as a venue for events other than the Missouri State Fair is running out. The good people at the Missouri State Fair Foundation do a great job attracting clients to utilize the grounds year round and they do a great job keeping them fit for hosting whatever you might be throwing.
Hardly a weekend goes by when there isn’t at least one revenue generating event going on at the Fairgrounds. Advertisements for car and gun shows, rodeos and races proudly adorn the chain link fences neat the major intersections. The people who attend and participate in events like these are likely spending at least some money at Sedalia businesses.
But we’re not just lucky because the Fairgrounds can drive business to Sedalia year round, we’re lucky because a wide variety of specialized spaces on the grounds allows them to be the showcase for everything from important cultural events like the Robert Woolery, Sr Memorial Pow to important personal events like your sister’s wedding.
I’ve always loved what they’re doing at the Sedalia Area Farmer’s Market and it’s great to see that they’re doing well in their section of the Fairgrounds. It’s a shame that they have to move during the Fair – maybe they should move deeper into the grounds during those days and actually become a part of it!
I graduated in the Mathewson Exhibition Center. Monster trucks, horses, cows, cowboys killing balloons, dogs – the Math has seen it all. I once coached my soccer team to victory there when the dirt arena was covered by a layer of soccer turf. Wrestling matches were decided there, and the Harlem Globetrotters played there.
Don’t forget about the Ozark Music Festival! Well, maybe you should forget it depending on how you feel about it. I think we can all agree that it was an important historical event on the timeline of the Queen City of the Prairies?
One of the first major non-Fair events that I covered at the Fairgrounds was the 2009 Tour of Missouri, which produced a very interesting column complete with a picture of me hanging out with two young women who were very enthusiastic about a certain business being advertised at the event. One of my former editors later framed a copy of that picture and gave it to me as a gift.
You probably read Sedalia Democrat reporter Faith Bemiss’ recent story about The America’s Mustang Celebration Expo at the Coliseum. Aren’t we lucky that Sedalia has the proper facilities to host a crazy awesome horse show where lucky and responsible locals would have the chance to adopt a wild horse? Hopefully there was at least one person who got to make their childhood dream come true. Hopefully you all will take to riding the horses quickly so we can accelerate the timetable on making Sedalia into a novelty Rawhide themed tourist trap.
But I guess I have to admit that the Fairgrounds are best utilized as the home of the Missouri State Fair each August, and it’s going to be here before you know it. There will be tourists, flies, livestock, garbage, cash, check, police reports, beer and out-of-town friends and relatives who want to sleep on your couch – but it will all be worth it, in a strictly financial sense.
I was thinking about the perfect way to end this and I just found it: I just killed that fly.
Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.