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Forecast for the Missouri State Fair: hot temperatures, cool Mizzou things to¬†do

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  • Story by Nancy Moen
  • Published: Aug. 16, 2010
Professor Fu-Hung Hsieh

Professor Fu-Hung Hsieh shows the texture of the soy-based meat substitute he created as an alternative to chicken breast. With fiber added, the soy chews like chicken. Photo by Keith Montgomery.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step inside Mizzou Central at the Missouri State Fair to embark on a black-and-gold adventure.

It's sizzling in Sedalia, but fair goers can chill with Truman the Tiger and other MU attractions in an air-conditioned facility. An array of demonstrations and displays welcomes visitors to Mizzou Central's 10,000 square-foot exhibition hall in the Mo-Ag Building.

Stop by now through Aug. 22 for entertainment, games, prizes, snacks and a celebration of services from Missouri's flagship university. Mizzou Central is located just inside Centennial Gate, about 100 yards from the grandstand.

In the spirit of public service - part of MU's mission - Mizzou Central is hosting a blood drive, screenings for skin cancer and presentations on health and wellness. Short videos on research and new technology will show in detail how the university improves the lives of Missourians.

Look for these and other MU attractions!

Get the scoop

Literally. Choose your favorite frozen confections at the fully functioning Buck's Ice Cream Parlor inside Mizzou Central. Flavors include the popular Tiger Stripe, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and butter pecan. New this year is Bond Select Chestnut ice cream, named for Missouri's retiring senator, Christopher "Kit" Bond, a longtime champion of higher education.

Visitors to Mizzou Central can also get the scoop figuratively. MU Admissions representatives provide enrollment materials and answer questions for prospective students and their families. Professors of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) offer fascinating facts on climate research, green farming, human and animal health, and other topics.

Adding to the collegiate atmosphere are displays of Mizzou merchandise offered for sale by University Bookstore. 

Future foods

Researchers in CAFNR's Department of Food Sciences will amaze and amuse the public on Food Day, Aug. 19, with news of future food and beverage products.

Graduate students will demonstrate the wine-making process and discuss Missouri's best grape-growing and wine-making methods.

Main-course discussions will feature Professor Fu-Hung Hsieh speaking about his newly developed process to create soy products that look, feel and chew like chicken. With the fibrous qualities of chicken breast, Hsieh's soy could appeal to shoppers as a low-cost alternative to chicken. Industry already is interested.

For sweets lovers, Professor Ingolf Gruen will look for feedback on a product in progress - a healthful ice cream option with fiber, antioxidants and probiotics. 

Insect Deli delights

From "eew" to "awesome," taste testing at the Insect Deli is sure to create a stir. Mealworms, also known as beetle larvae, are on the menu Aug. 15. Guests may sample flavors such as cinnamon-and-sugar, chili, and butter-and-garlic mealworms, as well as other roasted insects.

"Generally, people enjoy trying at least one mealworm, and many will try a couple of the different flavors," says Sarah Zukoff, a doctoral student of entomology, who directs preparation of the delicacies. "They're crunchy like potato chips and have a nice flavor."

The mealworms are boiled at 212 degrees for three minutes before being fried in an electric skillet on high. Seasonings are added just before serving. Yum!

Visitors who have no appetite for mealworms may prefer to peruse tabletop displays of preserved and live Missouri insects, some, of which, can be touched. Tasters and non-tasters alike can take away temporary insect tattoos as souvenirs.


MU chefs have developed recipes to please palettes with the new soy-chicken product. Photos courtesy of Leslie Jett.

Come one and all  

Bring your child and your inner child to Mizzou Central for games, shows and recreational activities. Drawing more than 60,000 visitors to its exhibits annually, MU is recognized among the state fair's top 10 sponsors.

There's plenty to do with the "Zou." Stick around to master the moves of Hula Hoops and hop scotch. Spin the carnival wheel to win a prize when you take your turn at Mizzou trivia. Watch puppets perform a "Trip to the Pizza Farm." Have your photo taken with Truman the Tiger. Enter a watermelon-eating contest.

The University of Missouri has had a presence at the fair for more than two decades, starting and continuing with longtime participants CAFNR, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Human Environmental Sciences and University of Missouri Extension.

Those same units continue to participate, offering demonstrations on topics such as sustainable gardening, floral arranging and green energy that are of interest to rural and urban dwellers alike.

See you at the fair!

Highlights and new additions

  • Buck's Ice Cream Parlor (daily)
  • MU Admissions Booth (Aug. 12, 14, 17, 19)
  • 8/12 - Mizzou Central Blood Drive
  • 8/12 - Truman the Tiger present at Opening Ceremonies
  • 8/12 - CAFNR-Tiger Garden Flower Arrangement Demo; Find the Tiger in You Day
  • 8/13 - Food Power Round-up Puppet Show: "Trip to the Pizza Farm"
  • 8/13 - CAFNR-Natural Resources Day
  • 8/14 - Truman the Tiger present for pictures and autographs
  • 8/14 - CAFNR-Gardening Tips
  • 8/15 - CAFNR-Bug Day and Insect Deli (eating roasted insects)
  • 8/16 - MU Dermatology Skin Cancer Screening
  • 8/16 - CAFNR-Agriculture Engineering Day
  • 8/17 - CAFNR-Atmospheric Science Day
  • 8/18 - MU Thompson Center Activities
  • 8/18 - CAFNR-Research Day
  • 8/19 - CAFNR-Food Day
  • 8/20 - CAFNR-Energy Day
  • 8/21 - CAFNR-Parks, Recreation and Tourism Day
  • 8/22 - CAFNR-Mizzou Trivia Day

Participating Mizzou departments and programs

Buck's Ice Cream, University Bookstore, MU Admissions Office, University of Missouri Extension and Extension Council, 4-H, College of Human Environmental Sciences, Tiger Garden, College of Veterinary Medicine, Frank L. Mitchell Trauma Center, MU Health Care, School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology, College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR), College of Arts and Science, USDA Agriculture Research Station, Bradford Research Farm, CV Riley Entomological Society, MU Meteorology Club and Storm Chase Team, NASA Education Program and the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurological Disorders.

Read more in:  Beyond CampusScience & TechnologyAgriculture & the Environment

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Last updated: June 6, 2013