We closed out a very busy 2021 Missouri State Fair with the car races on Sunday evening. We planned and completed several public demonstrations during the fair in front of the firehouse and grandstands again. The Fair opened on Thursday, August 12 with hot weather, go figure, rain and lightning canceled the opening day parade and concert after a 2-hour rain delay. We always expect one storm during the fair and opening day was it this year.
We gave apparatus tours daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and many nights longer as staffing allowed. That is one of the highlights for many of the younger fair attendees as a big firetruck is impressive. The 1929 firetruck is a fan favorite as well and a hand crank Q siren was added this year and the kids loved being able to run a siren and ring the bell. The remote control fire truck Patches and Pumper is always a favorite in front of the firehouse. Smokey the Bear and Sparky the Fire Pup are always a big hit and they both made their appearances daily during the fair. We have a wooden cut out of a firefighter for photo ops and this continues to be a big draw for kids and adults alike.
We used the car fire training prop on Friday at the firehouse in front of a large crowd to show how we fight vehicle fires and stress the importance of moving over to give us room and slow down so we can return home safely to our station and families. Saturday we had the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office assist with the sprinkler demonstration trailer in front of the grandstands and again the last Thursday of the fair in front of the firehouse. Eric Hartman and I gave the program about sprinklers, smoke detectors, and the difference in how the fire progresses without sprinklers was evident to all watching. We did the Facebook live on our page (Missouri State Fair Fire Department) for these and several other events. State Fire Marshal Tim Bean and his staff had a booth next to the firehouse to assist in promoting fire education and safety again for the fair this year.
The Fire Department did standby for all the events at the grandstand and many events in the west arena on the fairgrounds. EMS and First Aid stayed busy and the days with the largest crowds were the busiest days. Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team deployed once again to assist with care. Their location away from the fire department and on the North end of the fairgrounds, gave people another avenue for care and assist our department with care for the injured. The department gave several fire extinguisher demonstrations during the fair to attendees and that is always well received with great participation.
The dairy exhibitors invited the Missouri State Fair Fire Department to a corn hole tournament for one of their member’s daughter who lost all her fingers and toes due to E-Coli. The Fire Department raised $300 to donate to the cause, entered two teams in the tournament, and spent four hours participating along with Facebook live interviews and commentary with the teams and talking to the family. We were very thankful for the invitation and comradery they showed us. Our personnel represented the FFAM in a great manner and we received many thanks for our participation from the dairy families. They had 22 teams and our teams took second and fourth. Great job guys!
We were asked to judge the final cook-off at the MO-AG Theater between two cooks from MU Extension with one ingredient presented to them each day and anything in their fridge to complete a dish. The cooks talked while cooking and were very entertaining. They were given a funnel cake. One was made with another cake and as a dessert for a sweet and the other cook made a panini sandwich. The panini sandwich won! It was nice to be a part of so many different events at the fair this year. We heard the Saturday competition winner was hot dog gravy. Only at the fair! The cooks, Laura and Larry were very entertaining to us and all that gathered to watch. They were allowed 20 minutes to have their dish ready for judging.
We had 84 different personnel from 43 departments this year to make up our crews and staff the equipment. We had over 20 companies and individuals donate supplies for meals and 30 departments and businesses donate equipment and supplies for the apparatus and first aid. We staffed 3 Engines, 3 Squads, 3 medic UTV’s and 5 ambulances for the fair. We used the engines for fire and standby events and the UTV’s, with squads and ambulances for medical calls. Our largest crew during the fair was 73 and the smallest was 48 during the week and totaled over 18,000 hours of service to the Missouri State Fair. We provided dispatch, EMS, inspections, kitchen, maintenance, and public relations during the fair. FFAM member departments from across the state allowed us to use their equipment and personnel for the fair to become the Missouri State Fair Fire Department. We are the only known fire department that forms one time of the year to provide fire and EMS service. I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all the volunteers, businesses, and departments that make this happen with the support of the FFAM. It is a very unique opportunity to be allowed to serve at the Missouri State Fair. Please accept our open invitation to join us next year and see what is happening during the 2022 Missouri State Fair. It will be the 60th year of the FFAM and Missouri State Fair Fire Department providing the service for the State of Missouri and we look forward to seeing you and all our friends there.
Fun Fair facts:
Carnival receipts were over $240,000 in one day for a record in sales.
Gross receipts for the carnival were expected to top $1,000,000 for the first time.
Hank Williams still drew the largest concert crowd. 9200+
Corn dogs and cotton candy always taste better at the Fair!
The FFA and 4-H kids packed over 203,000 meals for the food bank this year. A great cause to support.