Opening day of fair has tractor show, tribute to fallen soldiers, rides

Sunday, September 9, 2012
People fall on the Drop Zone ride at the SEMO District Fair Saturday, September 8, at Arena Park in Cape Girardeau. (ADAM VOGLER)

Hundreds flocked to Arena Park on Saturday for the opening day of the 155th annual SEMO District Fair.

Although the antique tractor pull was postponed until Sept. 15 due to muddy conditions, 120 antique and restored tractors were on hand for viewing.

"The weather has some guys a little late getting here," said Gene Maevers, a long-standing member of the Egypt Mills Antique Tractor Club. "We've been showing at the fair for the past 32 years."

One of the oldest was a 1936 Model 18-27 Oliver Hart Parr owned by Mark Jones of Sikeston, Mo.

Inside the Arena Building is a tribute honoring soldiers from Missouri who have been killed since Sept. 11, 2001. There is a color photograph of each person, with a short biography stating their names, where they were from and where they were killed. In many cases, photographs show them with their families.

At the Veterans and Fallen Heroes Project, people can enter a raffle to win either a 1937 C Case Tractor or $2,000. The proceeds of the raffle go toward a new $6,000 bingo machine for the Missouri Veterans Home. The drawing will be held and the winner announced after the fair closes.

The midway hosts a variety of rides. For younger children, there is whirling dragons, flying puppy dogs and a boat that mimics the action of rolling waves.

One ride for older kids is called the Drop Zone. Participants are strapped into the seat, which is raised to the top of a towerlike structure. Once there, it drops the seats to within a few feet of the loading platform.

Sarah Barker, Conner Propst and Jordyn Castillo, all of Cape Girardeau, braved the heights to experience the ride.

"It was really fun and terrifying," Castillo said. "Coming down I had butterflies in my stomach."

"I'm shaking," Barker said. "It dropped really fast."

"It was scary at the end," Propst said. "I might try it again, I don't know."

Sunday begins with a service by the Cape County Cowboy Church, followed by barrel racing and the SEMO Fair Pageant.

Pertinent address:

Arena Park, Cape Girardeau MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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