Merriam Webster defines “Hipster” as a person who is unusually aware of and interested in new and unconventional patterns.

On the surface this seems like a good thing — it is a good thing for a person to be interested in new and unconventional things. However, hipster has turned into an insult. Hipsters are generally regarded as annoying people who are too into vinyl, wear giant glasses (even if they don’t need them), and discover things before they are cool. Generally, hipsters are regarded as being smug and annoying. For years, my friends have joked that I am a hipster. I think it’s a combination of my Buddy Holly glasses and that I am usually not that into whatever popular culture is, plus I totally listened to Portugal the Man before they broke into top 40 radio.

With the Missouri State Fair starting tomorrow, I thought I would bless the readers of the Democrat with a “Hipsters Guide to the Missouri State Fair” (If I was a hipster, which I am not Kellie!). I have at least 20 years of experience of attending the fair; even before I lived in Sedalia my family would visit the State Fair every year.

I know most people to flock to corn dogs and the like at the Fair, which makes sense because corn dogs are delicious. But, the best food at the Missouri State Fair is the Missouri Grown Bistro in the Taylor Woods Bistro. And it’s not just me saying this: the Missouri Grown Bistro actually made the Food Network’s list of 50 best meals to eat at a State Fair. They serve breakfast and lunch daily during the fair, and everything they serve is locally sourced. This year, all of the food is cooked by students from L'Ecole Culinaire-Kansas City and if you are watching your diet, all the meals are healthy. Plus, the eating area involves air conditioning and chairs, which is hard to beat at the fair.

After dining at the Missouri Grown Bistro, check out the AgriMissouri market in the same building. The AgriMissouri Market has been one of my favorite things to see at the fair since I was a kiddo. It is where I do all of my shopping at the fair. I pick up everything from Hammond’s Black and Gold walnuts to the best cat nip for my dude Gunther. It is a great way to discover the wide variety of products made in Missouri.

After feasting on a fancy meal, waltz on over to the Fine Arts Building. Last year I almost had a meltdown when I was walking around the fair and I overheard a stranger say “Art Building?! Why is there art at the State Fair! That’s dumb.”

I could go on and on about why art is important to have at the fair, but I will keep it short. Missouri has produced many influential artists over the years from Thomas Hart Benton in the early 20th century to contemporary artists like Tom Huck. The Missouri State Fair Fine Arts Building features art from all mediums and skill levels. The top level is home of “The Top 50,” which is a juried selection of 50 works of art. They also host rotating Artists in Residence, so you can watch art come to life in front of you. As an added bonus, the Fine Arts Building is air conditioned.

And when you get tired from people watching, the fair trams are the best way to people watch on the go! Whatever you do, don’t try to take a nap in one of the display RVs, they might frown upon that.

If you read this week’s column and thought I seem like a fun person to hang out at the fair with, you are absolutely correct! And you can get the chance to do that by entering the Sedalia Democrat contest to see the Southern Uprising Concert with me. Just send a video or short essay to ncooke@sedaliademocrat.com about why you should win! The contest closes Aug. 10 so hurry!

Contributing Columnist

Jennifer Langdon is an account executive at Townsquare Media and is president of Sedalia Young Professionals.

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