Southeast Missouri State University student publication

The SEMO District Fair has arrived

Tuesday, September 13, 2022
People stand in line at the SEMO District Fair for tickets on opening day. The fair offers ride wristbands for all visitors from noon-5pm. Fairgoes can enjoy the fair until Sept. 17th.
Photo by April Steyer

Ferris wheel, funnel cakes, and family fun…Oh my! The SEMO District Fair has returned to Cape Girardeau, and is packed full of entertainment for the whole family.

The fair kicked off Sept. 10 at the A.C. Arena Park Fairgrounds, opening the gates at 11 a.m. for all ages of fairgoers. This year’s fair theme is, “No time like fair time.”

For 166 years, the fair has brought together families from all over the area with exciting animal exhibits, entertaining shows, great food and fun activities. The fair has endured throughout history, including more than one pandemic.

Volunteer Marilyn Fritzler has been with the fair for more than 20 years, serving as a gate and ticket attendant, and has seen how the fair has changed over the years.

“Every year, the crowd seems to grow larger and larger,” Fritzler said. “Right from the start, we have been non-stop, which hasn’t been like that for years. There are more food vendors and rides than ever. Plus no more paying for parking.”

A few rides the fair offers this year are the fan-favorite ferris wheel, the Super Shot, which drops riders from 90 feet in the air; Pharaoh’s Fury, which looks like a giant ship rocking back and forth; and Zero Gravity, which spins riders so fast the gravity forces them against the walls. This is just to name a few.

While many food vendors are returning from previous years, newcomers hope the fair’s attendees will attract new business long after the it is gone.

The Egypt Mills Sweet Shoppe is one of the new merchants, specializing in sweets treats, from homemade cinnamon rolls to cakes. Owner Mary Smith said she is using the fair to get her business name out in the community.

“I wanted the visitors to see what exactly we have to offer,” Smith said. “And where we are set up here at the fair, they can grab dessert as they leave for the night. Who could pass up homemade freshly baked cinnamon rolls?”There are also exhibits showcasing products made or sold locally. One of those exhibits is Armstrong Outdoors, which has a special connection to the SEMO sports fans.

“The last few years we have been doing limited edition Redhawk camo,” Armstrong Marketing Director Rich Roark said. “We go to the tailgating party at the football games and sell these limited edition hoodies, T-shirts, and ballcaps.”

Other displays and exhibits feature livestock animals such as cattle, pigs, sheep and goats at the agricultural building along with various quilts, crafts and art displays inside the A.C. Arena building.

The fair will be here from Sept. 10 through Sept. 17, and will operate from 8 a.m.-11 p.m. every day.

To find out more about the SEMO District Fair, go to their website.