Robert W. Plaster Center

The Robert W. Plaster Center will provide the opportunity for indoor exhibits to be featured as part of the Four State Farm Show in addition to outdoor displays.

Four State Farm Show organizers are once again planning to hold the three-day event on the campus of Pittsburg State University in May after having had to cancel last year’s show due to the pandemic.

The show is planned for May 21-22 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and May 23 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Robert W. Plaster Center and the parking lot and grounds adjacent to the Plaster and the nearby Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. The area is located on Homer Street near the eastern edge of campus.

Last year, PSU announced the signing of a multi-year contract with the Four State Farm Show that relocated it from an all-outdoor venue south of Pittsburg. Weather often was an issue there.

This year, PSU and Farm Show organizers will stay in touch with public health officials in the months leading up to the show and will follow recommended best practices pertaining to the pandemic.

Using the Plaster Center will allow the show to offer over 400 climate controlled indoor booths to vendors, while more than 500 booths including large machinery will have an ideal location outdoors, noted Lance Markley, Special Agricultural Events Manager for Ozark Empire Fairgrounds, the new coordinators for the long running event. All spectator and exhibitor parking will be located on hard surface lots and will continue to be free.

“This show has proven to be a valuable resource for vendors, attendees, and the community,” Markley said. “We’re excited to be in the final stages of planning and looking ahead to May.”

While the Farm Show historically has been an agriculture-only event, the addition of “rural living” exhibit space in the Plaster Center will allow non-agricultural companies the opportunity to reach spectators with their products in a designated area, Markley said. A similar section has been popular each fall at the Ozark Fall Farmfest in Springfield, Missouri.

Lawn mower test driving — a popular feature previously — is returning this year, Markley said, giving attendees the opportunity to test drive a variety of zero turn lawnmowers.

Pre-pandemic, the show typically attracted 20,000 visitors in three days and had more than a $1 million in economic impact annually.

Devin Gorman, executive director for the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the show is a valuable event for the entire county, and the benefits of it being on campus will make it more enjoyable for everyone.

PSU Chief Strategy Officer Shawn Naccarato described it as another example of innovative partnerships being of direct benefit to the community.

“This is just a great example of the sort of things we anticipated would be made possible by the building of the Plaster Center and the investment that the city, as well as the private donors, made to build that facility,” Naccarato said.

Both agricultural and rural living booths are now available for exhibitors. Please contact Lance Markley at lance@ozarkempirefair.com or 620-423-2355 for details.

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