SEDALIA, Mo. -

The Missouri State Fair got underway Thursday in Sedalia.

The event brings in $4.5 million annually, but has had its share of controversy over the last three years.

Three years ago, high winds caused damage on the fairgrounds, and a wreck on the dirt race track injured spectators a year later.

However, those incidents won't stop many Missourians from having a good time. Every summer, Libby Mattox and her husband take their grandchildren to the Missouri State Fair.

She said it's a safe place for them to go and enjoy their time together. 

"Probably 30 years we've been coming down to the fair and as we get older we appreciate it more," said Mattox.

Last year, Tuffy Gessling, a rodeo clown, put on a mask resembling President Obama and then made a comment about getting run over by a bull.

Since then, fair officials have tightened up security and those who entertain.

State Fair Director Mark Wolfe said, "It's hard to bring 350,000 people onto 4 acres and not have a few bumps and bruises as you go along, but we work really hard with our security and public safety officials and folks out here. We've got great participation with the Missouri State Highway Patrol and they do a great job."

The fair continues through August 17, and tickets can be purchased at the door.