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Missouri State Fair begins Thursday in Sedalia

(file photo)

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri State Fair kicks off tomorrow in Sedalia and officials are hoping to set a new attendance record this year.

Around 330,000 people attended the fair last year, an eight percent increase over 2008's crowd.

Marketing Director Tammie Nichols says this summer's heat wave shouldn't be a problem.

"We think that we've got some cooler weather coming in, and then along with all of the wonderful entertainment that we offer in the air-conditioned buildings, we think that that will still be a positive factor and so people will come out," Nichols said.

One of the main events each year is the Governor's Ham Breakfast, which draws politicians from both major parties. Republican U.S. Senate nominee Roy Blunt says he'll be there.

"My mom and dad were dairy farmers, and frankly one of the few places we ever went away from home was one day at the state fair every year," Blunt said. "I always enjoy walking through the livestock barns, one of the things that I can remember doing as a little boy, and still do."

Democratic Senate nominee Robin Carnahan was not available for an interview at press time, but a spokesman for her campaign says she'll be at the Governor's Ham Breakfast as well.

While there won't be any stump speeches at the breakfast, fair officials say some office seekers may schedule press conferences or just walk among the crowds and talk to potential supporters. Governor Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne are scheduled to greet fairgoers on opening day tomorrow.

More information on the Missouri State Fair can be found at the following website: mostatefair.com.