The Missouri State opens today in Sedalia, Mo., and runs through Aug. 18. Here’s a quick guide:

1. Gates to the fairgrounds are open from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors 60 and older, $2 for ages 6-12, and free for ages 5 and younger. Tickets for grandstand shows do not include the price of admission. From Eastern Jackson County, take I-70 east to U.S. 65, then south to Sedalia and follow the signs. Or take U.S. 50 east to Sedalia and follow the signs. Parking is free; VIP parking is closer and is $5.

2. Much is the same but also much changes day to day. For instance, there’s an opening day parade at 6 this evening. Friday is Missouri Conservation Department Day, Saturday is Law Enforcement/Firefighter Appreciation Day, Sunday is Military Appreciation Day, and Aug. 14 is Senior Appreciation Day. On Military Appreciation Day, veterans, active-duty military and delayed-entry recruits get in free with appropriate ID, and spouses and dependent children get in for $1. It’s the same for law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics on Law Enforcement/Firefighter Appreciation Day. Go to to download daily schedules.

3. Grab a map at the gate, and start exploring. Livestock and produce of all types will be on display, and judging occurs throughout the fair. There’s heavy machinery, fine art, 4-H projects, carnival rides, free music, a wine garden, giant pumpkins and watermelons in the Ag Building, a petting zoo, and food. Lots of food.

4. Grandstand shows this year include Dwight Yoakam (tonight), The Struts (Friday), Brantley Gilbert (Saturday), Foreigner (Aug. 16) and the Brothers Osborne (Aug. 17). Fireworks follow the shows. Also at the Grandstand: Missouri State Fair Shootout (Aug. 11), Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League (Aug. 12) and ASCS Sprint Car and Late Model Races (Aug. 18). Event prices vary. Go to for tickets.

5. Look for discounts and giveaways. Daily themes mean discounts. For instance, Aug. 15 is Throwback Thursday, with $5 admission for everyone 13 and older and free admission for everyone 12 and younger. Aug. 16 is Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives Day, and the first 1,500 people who stop by the Electric Cooperatives Building get a free LED lightbulb. The Department of Transportation has free Missouri road maps. Download the daily schedules to find more bargains.

– Jeff Fox