A new event day, Celebrate Kids in Agriculture Saturday, Aug. 16, will top the list of exciting new promotions offered at the 2014 Missouri State Fair. Activities this day will be coordinated by the Missouri State Fair and Missouri Department of Agriculture, and sponsored by Missouri Department of Conservation. The day will acknowledge youth currently involved in Missouri's agriculture industry, and help raise awareness of and encourage an interest in agriculture among Missouri youth. Plans this day will include free gate admission for children ages 12 years of age and younger, free old-fashioned harvest games and new contests in two competitive exhibit categories. The event day will be the culmination of the 2014 Fair's marketing campaign, which includes a heightened emphasis on celebrating youth.
"Fostering youth development is the premise of our agriculture showcase," Missouri State Fair Director Mark Wolfe said. "This year during the Fair youth will be celebrated starting with the Opening Day Ceremony held in front of our Family Fun Center and continuing through the final weekend. The new day, Celebrate Kids in Agriculture, will offer several unique experiences especially for youth and their families."
Old-fashioned harvest games, such as gunny sack races, egg relay races and water relays, will be offered for two age divisions and located on the lawn of the Missouri Department of Transportation's Highway Gardens Saturday, Aug. 16. Games for 4-7 year olds will be offered between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and games for 8-12 year olds will be offered between 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Complete details are available at www.mostatefair.com/special-contests.
Two new contests are also being offered to encourage participation in competitive exhibits amongst youth attending this year's Missouri State Fair, the Largest Homegrown Tomato Contest and the Fun on the Farm Poster Contest.
"It is important that we encourage participation in the Missouri State Fair, starting from a young age," Missouri Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce said. "Youth involved in projects at the State Fair learn about agriculture heritage, commitment and hard work, and they acquire leadership skills that will benefit them and our industry in the future."
Entries in the Largest Homegrown Tomato Contest will be accepted in one age division, youth 3-12 years old, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, in the AgriMissouri Tent located west of the Agriculture Building. Judging will be based on the weight of the tomato.
Entries in the Fun on the Farm Poster Contest will be accepted in two age divisions, youth 5-8 years old and youth 9-12 years old, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, in the Fine Arts Building. Judging will be based on theme, creativity and adherence to rule specifications.
The winning names for the top four places in both the tomato and poster contests will be announced at 6 p.m. at the Touchstone Energy Stage, Aug. 16. Winners in both contests will receive the following prizes, good for the 2015 Missouri State Fair: 1st place will receive 22 gate admission tickets and two unlimited carnival ride wristbands; 2nd place will receive 16 gate admission tickets; 3rd place will receive 12 gate admission tickets; and 4th place will receive eight gate admission tickets; each winner will also receive a coupon for a free funnel cake or corn dog from Westmoreland Concessions, redeemable Aug. 16. Every contestant, in both contests, will receive a participation ribbon for their efforts, and a coupon for a free snack from the AgriMissouri Market, located inside the Agriculture Building, also redeemable Aug. 16.
The contests offer opportunities to engage youth in summer-long projects, as they wait to compete alongside their peers on Aug. 16. Complete details for the contests are available at www.mostatefair.com/special-contests. The Missouri State Fair, themed, Harvest the Fun!, will be held Aug. 7-17 in Sedalia. Visit the website for more information, and follow the Fair on Facebook and Twitter.