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For those of us who didn’t grow up on a farm, the phrase “state fair” is synonymous with “pig stench.” But those in the know appreciate the finer aspects of fairing: people watching, snow cones, the sensual lick of a petting goat’s tongue, stilt walkers, chainsaw art, 4-H crafts, watching nauseated children spinning in teacups. The Missouri State Fair (2503 West 16th Street, Sedalia, 800-422-3247) kicks off today with a 6 p.m. parade and a 7:30 p.m. grandstand performance from country stud Jason Aldean (pictured). First-day fairgoers can take advantage of $1 admission and carnival rides; the price jumps to $8 (ages 12 and younger free) for the rest of the fair, through August 19. Performers of note include Counting Crows on Friday, Alice Cooper and Blue Oyster Cult on Saturday, Dierks Bentley on Sunday, Big and Rich on August 16 and Switchfoot on August 17. Gates open daily at 7:30 a.m., and the herds get stampeded out at midnight. the Missouri State Fair
Aug. 9-19

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