They’re painting the gate and they’re putting up the signs on the fences. It’s just about time for the Missouri State Fair here in the Queen City of the Prairies. And we got some good fair news just the other day when Gov. Jay Nixon announced the Missouri State Fair received approval for $4 million worth of improvements.
Now don’t get me wrong — the fine people of the Missouri State Fair Foundation work tirelessly and have been steadily improving the grounds as best they could. But there’s always a new problem when you’re dealing with a historic seasonal miniature town like the Missouri State Fairgrounds. We should probably buy more souvenirs.
Some of those funds are going toward the preservation and continued use of the historic fair Coliseum, which is a much less brutal venue than its namesake. This one doesn’t even have simulated fights to the death.
Maybe the people of the Show-Me State at large don’t realize just how much goodwill the fair creates for Missouri and the people who live there. People from all over the country converge on Sedalia and they find out really quick that we can throw a 10-day party just about as well as anyone.
It’s just like my friend from Kansas once said: “You guys can walk around your State Fair drinking beer!?” I think even he would agree it’s better if that quote remains mostly anonymous.
He said that with a look of wonder on his face, like he just found a golden ticket packaged with his chocolate bar. Of course you can; for many that’s the whole reason they go to the fair. Here’s a tip for those of you who don’t call the State Fair City home: The Fair has a pretty good night life, especially if you like standing around on an extra wide road drinking beer and mingling with people you know from high school.
But no matter why you go to the fair, you’ve got to admit it is important to the economy and culture of Sedalia, Pettis County and even Missouri. It’s important that we do what we can to make Sedalia and the Fairgrounds look their best for the people of the state and the region. A prosperous fair must be a well-maintained fair or the people might one day stop coming in droves.
So it’s good to see the state government kicking in a little extra. It would be easy to walk into the fair and assume the whole thing is literally operated by the state, but that’s only true to a certain degree. In reality, a large majority of the people who make the fair happen are locals. Most of those youths picking up your trash are students right here in Sedalia; many of those people working the grandstand and the ticket booths are too.
So in exchange for the good work we do for the sake of the good reputation of the state we call home, it’s only fair that the state government throw us a financial bone every once in a while because it would seem to me that they would want the fair to succeed just as much as we do. These are the sort of improvements that are going to keep the fair and its historic buildings available for our use for years to come.
Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.