There’s only two days left of the Missouri State Fair, but there’s still plenty to see and do this weekend on the fairgrounds.
Halestorm and Sevendust will wrap up the concert series at the Pepsi Grandstand at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and tickets are still available at the fair box office, located just behind the Grandstand. There will be more music opportunities available Sunday, however, as the ninth State Fair Idol Finals begin at 2 p.m. on the Budweiser Stage.
“We’ve had some really good talent this year,” said coordinator and host Melissa Mays. “I imagine it’s been hard for the judges. We have a lot of newcomers, which is great, and we have some who have auditioned before. We’ve got a really good talent pool in mid-Missouri.”
Mays said this year’s contestants are from all over the state, ranging from St. Louis and Springfield, to towns closer to Sedalia such as Windsor and Smithton.
The contestant pool started with about 50 people in the preliminaries, and 20 are competing in the semi-finals. That pool will be narrowed down even further to six to eight contestants for Sunday’s finals. Each contestant will have the opportunity to sing four songs. The winner gets quite the prize package — thanks to sponsor Bimbo Bakeries, the winner will get a $500 cash prize, the chance to sing before the opening concert at the Pepsi Grandstand during the 2015 MSF, and the chance to record a song of their choice at KXKX and have it played on the air. The runner-up will receive a $250 cash prize.
From the looks of a mostly full Bud Tent for Friday’s semi-final performances, State Fair Idol has again been a popular event for fairgoers. For those involved behind the scenes, it’s been a little tougher with the loss of the event’s founder Thom Fuller, who died earlier this year. When Mays became the coordinator three years ago, she said she looked to Fuller, a close friend of her’s, for advice.
“When I started as host, I conferred with him, got advice, found out what’s important,” she said. “He gave me tips and tidbits.”
Mays has included Fuller in each State Fair Idol show this year.
“I mention him every day. I give him kudos for creating the show,” she said, getting a little teary-eyed. “I say his name and thank him for the idea. We don’t do anything like a moment of silence — he’d think that was too over-dramatic. We’re just letting him know it’s still going strong.”
Saturday is Youth in Agriculture Day, and all kids age 12 and under receive free gate admission. There will also be games and contests just for kids, including a “Fun on the Farm” poster contest and the largest tomato contest, in the Highway Gardens from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Entries are accepted for the two contests from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Sale of Champions will begin at 1:30 p.m. in Lowell Mohler Assembly Hall.
Sunday is Protect the Harvest Day, which includes free gate admission for municipal, county and state law enforcement and Missouri firefighters, EMTs and paramedics with appropriate ID. Immediate family members will receive $1 gate admission. The Missouri Fiddling Championships will start at 1:30 p.m. on the Touchstone Energy Stage.
For more information or for weekend schedules, visit mostatefair.com.