The 2012 Ozark Empire Fair is almost a week old and so far the heat has been hard to beat. Fair weather is usually broiling hot, which it is… or very wet; which so far, it isn’t.
The Fair had its organized beginning in 1936, as the Ozark Empire District Free Fair which had free gate admission. Back then, there were more family farms and competition was fierce in livestock, horticulture and household arts divisions.
Back then, Frank Farmer, farm editor with the News-Leader, followed his Father, Clifford Farmer. Frank virtually lived at the fairgrounds to get judging results for the newspaper to print, something the electronic media could not do. The arts, livestock competitions, horticulture competitions and now farmers’ market are still popular areas of the fair. However, it seems the new rides on The Midway and the “food on a stick” has helped bring in the crowds to help support our local community during this great LIVE LOCAL Fair.
When the fair weather is sweltering, many “misting stations” have been added to help keep livestock and guests cool in the Midway and in the open barns. The fair has truly survived dire and hard times. Many remember one enterprising manager who used goats to keep the fairgrounds grass neat. So far, this 2012 season is doing well even in the 100 plus heat and the evenings are pulling in high numbers with many new features to this year’s fair.
The fairgrounds also have hosted stock car races, flying exhibitions and many musical talents. This year, Glen Campbell and Dierks Bentley are entertaining thousands along with the exciting Tractor Pull hosted by O’Reilly Auto Parts. Springfield’s first FireFall was also held at the fairgrounds, but a deluge of traffic quickly prompted a move to Springfield-Branson National Airport.
With only 36 hours left, we’ve have a complete list of fun things to do with the remaining time. Just click the With the clouds helping release some pressure on the heat today and tomorrow, it’s a great time to get out there and enjoy the Fair!
2012 Ozark Empire Fair Daily Schedule (click to download PDF)