SEDALIA, Mo. — In some ways, whether walking through the busy Swine Pavilion or watching youth livestock exhibitors lead cattle around the show ring at the Coliseum, the 118th Missouri State Fair felt like so many fairs before it.

But with virtually all events other than youth livestock shows canceled, this was a fair unlike any in memory, with no games and rides in the glittering Midway section, no large crowds milling about the grounds, no performances at the looming old grandstand on the eastern part of the Sedalia fairgrounds.

For youth livestock exhibitors Adrienne and Jillian Bryant, they were just happy to have the opportunity to come to the State Fair and show their heifers. Speaking in one of the livestock barns following the beef showmanship event, the sisters from Fulton say it has been nice to see people make the most of the fair in challenging circumstances.

Adrienne Bryant, who will be a sophomore at North Callaway High School this fall, says this is her fourth year showing at the fair. Aside from the smaller crowds, she says the livestock shows have felt fairly normal.

“Everything feels the same, except all the people being here. The shows have gone well,” she says.

Adrienne says she was excited to have the opportunity to show her animals at the State Fair after other fairs and events were canceled. She also appreciated milder temperatures, instead of Missouri’s familiar August heat.

“We’ve had great weather,” she says.

Jillian Bryant, who will be a senior at North Callaway, says despite the challenges presented by the pandemic it has been an enjoyable fair.

“I think it’s been a great fair considering the circumstances,” she says.

Jillian expressed thanks to the people who made the fair and its youth livestock shows happen.

“I definitely really appreciate the people who put it on,” she says.

Ben Herrold is Missouri field editor, writing for Missouri Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.