This year's theme for The Missouri State Fair is Summer's Best Story. Yet, for many, The Missouri State Fair is summer's best story every year. From the folks who make an annual pilgrimage to Sedalia, the Fair's home, every year. To the locals who work at the fair every summer to earn a little extra dough. The fair is tradition, the fair is music, the fair is showing off your prize animal, the fair is family and friends, and the fair is community. I believe the fair has been Summer's Best Story since 1901 and I have some pictures to prove it.

No, I don't mean personal pictures. I have those, too. But historical pictures of how The Missouri State Fairgrounds have looked over the years. Postcards of the fairgrounds and the buildings, missives from another time when the easiest way to tell friends and family you were having fun on vacation was to send that postcard.

These days I guess it's photos and selfies posted to Facebook or Instagram. That's the modern postcard.

The Fair's story is amazing too, from the original 150 acres of land donated by the Van Riper family in 1901 to the brand new State Fair Arena which hopefully will be ready for the 2026 Fair. Amazing things have taken place over the decades.

So sit back, keep scrolling, soak in some photographs from the Missouri State Fair's early days, and take some time to ponder the Fair's history in the narrative below the photos. No the photos and the narrative don't have a lot to do with each other, at some point telling the Fair's story outpaced the 15 photos I found in The State Historical Society of Missouri's digital archives.

Yet take a few moments to look at the people, and the buildings, and think about those who created The Missouri State Fair on April 19, 1899. I don't know if they knew they were creating a Missouri tradition, or that they were starting something that would bring joy to generations of Missourians, and honorary Missourians who visit the fair every year, but they did.

If you've never been, you should go this year. It's special, it's fun. Get the steak sandwich from The Beef House. Enjoy a pork burger from Pork Place. Pick up a giant cookie from the Giant Cookie Guy. See a concert. Get your picture taken with Bart, the Missouri State Fair mascot. See a show. Hit the midway after a concert. I promise you'll leave with Summer's Best Story. Maybe even a few best stories if you're lucky.

This year's Missouri State Fair runs from August 8 - August 18 here in Sedalia. If camping is your thing, there's camping on the Fairgrounds which has been a tradition since 1911, and plenty of hotels in the area if that's not your thing. Just book early, cause those rooms go fast.

Take A Look At These Very Classic Missouri State Fair Photos

The Missouri State Fair was established in 1901 and has called Sedalia its home ever since. In 2024 the Fair's theme is Summer's Best Story. Here's proof that the Missouri State Fair is Summer's Best Story every summer for many people. Enjoy these pictures and postcards from the Missouri State Fair from The State Historical Society of Missouri, including one of our state's most favorite sons.

Gallery Credit: Rob Creighton

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Gallery Credit: Rob Creighton

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