Missouri State Fair

Gov. Jay Nixon touts his administration's record on agriculture at his annual Ham Breakfast at the 2015 Missouri State Fair.
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Jay Nixon made a return appearance Thursday to the State Fair's annual ham breakfast, after pulling out of last year's event due to the unrest in Ferguson.

He told reporters at the fair that progress has been made in advancing social justice in Ferguson one year after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by former police officer Darren Wilson.

Mo. Dept. of Agriculture

The home of the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia is about to get a nearly $4 million upgrade, thanks to legislation passed this year.

The bulk of the renovations will take place at the state fair coliseum and the Womans Building, both of which are more than a hundred years old.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Sedalia was swarming with politicians Thursday, as office holders from both parties descended on the Missouri State Fair.

Nearly a thousand people, politicians and citizens alike, dined on country ham, eggs and peaches at the Governor's Ham Breakfast.  Governor Jay Nixon began his annual speech by condemning the incident in which a rodeo clown wore a President Obama mask this weekend.

"What has always united us is (that) no matter what part of the state you're from, or who you voted for, we treat people with respect," Nixon told the applauding crowd.

(Courtesy of the Missouri State Fair)

Updated at 5:31 p.m. with additional comments from Al Watkins, attorney for Mo. Rodeo Cowboy Assoc. Pres. Mark Ficken.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. with comments from Gov. Jay Nixon. Jacob McCleland contributed reporting from Cape Girardeau.

Updated at 2:50 p.m. with actions taken against the rodeo clown.

The Missouri State Fair has permanently banned a rodeo clown whose imitation of President Barack Obama has been widely criticized as disrespectful.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Romney distancing himself from Akin

Republican presidential Mitt Romney is distancing himself from Congressman Todd Akin after comments Akin made during an interview with a St. Louis television station.

During the interview on Fox 2's Jaco Report, Akin was asked if he would support abortion in cases when a woman was raped.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s drought conditions have increased the threat of wildfires across the state.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) presided over a drought briefing today at the Missouri State Fair for emergency management and public safety workers.  He says the wildfire risk will stretch into fall, as drought conditions are now expected to last through November.

(Missouri State Fair)

The 2012 Missouri State Fair is underway in Sedalia.

Attendees this year will have access to a new warning system in the event of severe weather.  Fair officials and the State Highway Patrol are offering the service, which will provide text messages to fairgoers if there’s a severe weather warning or other emergency situation.  Marketing Director Tammie Nichols says it’s being provided, in part, because of last year’s severe storm that knocked out power and forced the fair to shut down for several hours.

(Missouri State Fair)

The Missouri State Fair has reopened, after a severe thunderstorm passed through Sedalia last night, knocking out power and blowing debris across the fairgrounds.

The gates reopened to the public at 3:00 p.m., after electrical power was fully restored.  Spokeswoman Tammy Nichols says there were no injuries to people or farm animals.

(Courtesy Missouri State Fair)

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

Missouri State Fairgrounds temporarily close after nighttime storms

Update: A tweet from the Missouri State Fair: "State Fair to Open Gates at 3 p.m. Today - Luke Bryan and Josh Thompson will take the Grandstand Stage at 7:30 p.m. as scheduled"

Original Story:

The Missouri State Fairgrounds are closed after a strong storm knocked out power.

(Courtesy Missouri State Fair)

It appears that the record-setting heat wave may have finally let up in portions of Missouri, which is good news for State Fair organizers.

The annual event begins one week from today in Sedalia, and forecasters are predicting high’s in the low 80’s for opening day.

Governor Jay Nixon says there’ll be plenty of emergency responders on hand if the excessive heat returns.