A postcard from the Missouri State Fair

Aug 14, 2013

This week for the show, I went to the Missouri State Fair and all you’re getting is this audio postcard.

Marlys Peck and her family have sold corn dogs on under this tree at the Missouri State Fair since 1972. At the time, the dogs cost 50 cents, Marlys's father Earl said.
Credit Harum Helmy / KBIA News
Credit Harum Helmy / KBIA News

First, I talked to Marlys Peck, who, along with her family, has been selling corn dogs at the fair for more than 41 years. Every year, Peck and her parents spend the state-fair week under the same tree near the historic Womens Building. 

"I grew up under this tree," Peck says. "In a sense, yeah. I was 8 when we started. I love this tree, if anything happened to it, lightning, if they took it down, I'd be so upset."

Peck teaches social work at the University of Central Missouri.   

Credit Harum Helmy / KBIA News

Next, at the fair's poultry show, I watched as one guy kept pulling chickens out of their tiny cages and putting them back in. Steve Jones turned out to be a certified judge with the American Poultry Association. Jones came all the way to Missouri from Texas and says he gets to travel a lot for his job. 

"It's like a second childhood," Jones said. "I get to meet cool new people and look at beautiful birds."

Elissa Hoyt showed two of her largest hogs at the fair. The activity ran in the family: her older sister also showed pigs.
Credit Harum Helmy / KBIA News

Next, I went to the fair's massive swine barn and met Elissa Hoyt, a young woman who's passionate about agricultural education. In addition to showing me where the ham is located on a hog ("The top of their back legs," she said. "You mean its butt?" I asked. "Yeah, its butt. I was trying to be nice," she said), she also taught me that pigs love marshmallows. 

Hog #28 sniffs at a bag of marshmallows.
Credit Harum Helmy / KBIA News

If you ever have the opportunity to feed marshmallows to a hog, all you have to do is tap the hog's snout with the marshmallow and it will open its mouth to welcome the food.