Springfield Mo - Since it opened its doors in 1960, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) building at the Ozark Empire Fair has become a popular stop for fair visitors. That half-century of popularity will be honored in a special ceremony on the opening day of this year’s Fair.
At noon on Friday, July 30, the Ozark Empire Fair’s opening ceremonies will be held in front of the MDC building, located on the west side of the fairgrounds. This ceremony will serve the dual purpose of opening this year’s fair and celebrating the MDC building’s 50th anniversary.
Certificates of appreciation will be presented to local businesses, organizations and individuals that provided assistance with the construction of the building. The current building replaced a tent the MDC had occupied at the fair for a number of years prior to 1960.
The role that local businesses and citizens played in the construction of the MDC building in 1960 is a story most of today’s fair-goers aren’t familiar with. What people do know is that no trip to the Ozark Empire Fair is complete without visiting the “Conservation building.”
People know the MDC building is a great place to get information about wise resource management. It’s a must stop each year for people to get information about upcoming hunting seasons and visitors to the building always enjoy seeing the fish.
What modern fair-goers don’t know about this structure is its history. Most undoubtedly presume the MDC building at the Ozark Empire Fair was solely a product of state government funds that came from Jefferson City, but that’s not the case. Local businesses and organizations helped secure part of the funds and drummed up the much of the support that led to the construction of this building in 1960. It was a classic case of grass-roots support for conservation.