SEDALIA, Mo. – There is less than a month until the Missouri State Fair kicks off in Sedalia. And despite the rising cost of some products, the cost to get into the fair is not being affected.

Barns across the fairgrounds were quiet Wednesday, but starting Aug. 8, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend the Missouri State Fair. While admission costs aren’t going up, you could pay more for a corndog, but the new state fair director said for the first time since COVID, things are starting to return to normal.

“That’s the biggest trick in the fair industry is keeping everything fresh and keeping it new,” State Fair Director Jason Moore said. “The last thing you ever want to hear anybody say is it’s the same old thing.”

As crews prepare for another state fair, something new to the 122-year event is a new director. 

“They don’t have this when you go to a job fair, it’s not on career day,” Moore said. “I can’t say that I woke up when I was 16-year-old kid and dreamed about being a state fair director but I’ve been really fortunate to fall into the industry and develop quite a passion for it.”

Before becoming the director, Moore spent 15 years overseeing capital improvement projects and maintenance at the Missouri State Fair. He replaced Mark Wolfe who retired after being the longest serving director. 

Moore said his concern going forward for the annual fair is entertainment. 

“We really look to try and get those grandstand acts the best acts we can possibly get for our grandstands, but we seat 11,000 people and it’s limited to the types of events you can host and the level of acts you can afford to keep ticket costs still reasonable,” he said. 

Unlike years past, drought currently isn’t a concern, but Mother Nature is still top of mind. The 11-day fair showcases one of the state’s largest industries. 

“We certainly work with the Department of Agriculture and the state’s veterinary office to monitor the health and safety of the animals, but they are one of our top concerns,” Moore said. “It can be a little scary when it gets in those triple digits.”

Crew will spend these final weeks sprucing up the barns for livestock and fairgrounds for the 350,000 fairgoers. 

“I think it’s a great family event, I think it’s a fun event; and why not come to the state fair?” Moore said. 

This year, there won’t be a rodeo or bull riding since the arena where that normally happens has been demolished, as a new $20 million arena is in the works and set to be completed in 2026. 

In the coming years, the state fair plans to offer more campsites to fairgoers after purchasing 200 acres to house an additional 600 to 700 sites. 

“Right now, we’ve got 2,000 sites and about 500 to 600 people on a waiting list that want a spot every year at the state fair,” Moore said. 

The fair runs Aug. 8 through Aug. 18 and ticket prices are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (60 and older) and $4 for youth ages 6–12. 

Something new to the fair this year is a drone show at the grandstands the first three nights of the fair following the concert. 

For more information about the fair, grandstand events or scheduling, visit their website.