People always look at me weird when I say one of my favorite things about the Missouri State Fair is seeing my best fair friend, Andrea. Andrea is one of the owners of Granola Jones and Berry Nutty Farm that are set up in the Agriculture Building every year. (Side note: They have the tastiest granola and jam ever and they have free samples, go try it!)
For about the last 10 years, Andrea and I have a tradition of us hanging out in their booth for a few hours during the fair and we catch up on everything that’s happened in our lives for the last year. And it really is one of the things I look forward to most. We usually don’t talk much throughout the year, so it really is a fair tradition.
While I was basking in the glow of Yes Yes for Sedalia passing last week, I got to thinking about it: in a lot of ways the vendors, exhibitors and visitors to the fair are Sedalia’s best fair friends. For a lot of the hundreds of thousands of people who come to the fair, this is their only exposure annually to Sedalia. And even though they cannot sit down with a city to have a conversation they can see how Sedalia is changing.
In August 2018, when people drove into Sedalia from North U.S. Route 65 they drove past mostly empty fields. This year, Nucor’s new micro mill facility is rising into the skyline. And when they come to Sedalia in 2020, they will be driving past a fully functioning factory.
For the last decade or so, when fair visitors drove downtown, they drove past a beautiful, yet failing building. But, the Trust Building has been purchased and more than likely work will begin on it soon.
And since 2015, when people made it into Sedalia from North 65, they drove past a dusty track and a very small parking lot. When they drive past it in 2020, there will be construction crews working. And in 2021? People will be able to drive past and then use the Heckart Community Center.
The last few years and especially the last year have brought incredible change for Sedalia and that change is something everyone who comes to Sedalia can see. I was hanging out in Columbia a couple of weeks ago and someone asked where I was from. When I said Sedalia, their response was, “I hear Sedalia is exploding with growth.” All of this change is great for our community and we are lucky to have so many dedicated individuals who work their hardest to make this happen. It will be interesting to see what happens in Sedalia next. Who knows maybe we will get a Target, HyVee or Olive Garden!
So, welcome to all of our Fair friends! We are glad to have you back in the State Fair City, but maybe come and see us more often. Sedalia is here 365 days a year, with much better traffic.