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      State Fair starts Thursday

      Workers put finishing touches on rides and games Wednesday evening.

      The Missouri State Fair kicks off Thursday and will run through August 17.

      Workers Wednesday put the final touches on rides, games and food booths.

      "It's a yearlong process. We start booking entertainment...we've already got one act it looks like booked for next year's fair...so it takes a while to put it together. This is just the culmination and we're ready to go, everybody's excited," State Fair Director Mark Wolfe said Wednesday.

      Game booth operator Randall Nelson is in Sedalia for his first Missouri State Fair. He said he hopes the fair will bring money to his game booth.

      Nelson says games have taken a hit since the recession.

      "We feel the crunch on the games more than anybody else," he said.

      "People are gonna line up for corn dogs, they're gonna line up to ride rides. But as far as the carnival games go...a lot of people don't have the money."

      Still, the smiles he sees when children win big prizes make it worthwhile.

      "That's the best part. That's why we do this job," Nelson said.

      Even though the fair hadn't officially started yet Wednesday, some competitions were already underway.

      Ten-year-old Fulton resident Curtis Humphreys competed in the swine showmanship competition Wednesday.

      The youngster already took the top title at his county fair this year, and said he's not nervous about competing at the state competition.

      "This is my second year and I've done it before and I've been here since I was little. And I really like the State Fair," Humphreys said.

      Last year's State Fair was somewhat clouded with controversy over a rodeo clown act.

      Wolfe says the fair is meant to be a family-friendly environment, and they expect professionalism out of their entertainers.

      "You hand somebody a microphone and they can say anything before you can stop it," Wolfe said.

      "Our entertainers, our paid entertainers, will come out here and be professionals and we expect that and it's in their contract to do so and we've made some changes in those contracts to help ensure that."

      You can get State Fair tickets at the fairgrounds. You can get tickets to the fair's concerts on Ticketmaster.