How to celebrate Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday

Party like its 1944.

An American icon is celebrating a milestone birthday!

Smokey Bear turns 75 this year.

You can help Smokey celebrate his birthday at the SEMO District Fair.

The Missouri Department of Conservation is hosting a special party on Sunday, Sept. 8 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Conservation Pavillion.

The birthday party will feature the “Hokey Pokey with Smokey,” cupcakes (while supplies last), and Smokey Bear party favors.

There will also be a special guest appearance by Southeast Missouri State University mascot, Rowdy Redhawk, as he arrives to wish Smokey a happy birthday.

Smokey Bear will also participate in the SEMO Fair Parade Saturday, Sep. 7. The parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. beginning at Capaha Park and end at the SEMO Fairgrounds.


Since 1944, Smokey has known for his signature phrase, “Only you can prevent wildfires.”

His goal is to protect America’s forests from unwanted, human-caused fire.

While Smokey might be getting older, his message still stands as relevant as ever.

Today, nearly 9 out of 10 wildfires nationwide are caused by people.

Here are some other things you might not know about Smokey:

  • Smokey Bear is at the heart of the longest-running public service campaign in American history.
  • In 1952, Congress passed the Smokey Bear Act to preserve his legacy.
  • The U.S. Postal Service gave him his own postage stamp in 1984.
  • His messages have received more than $1.6 billion of donated media support.
  • His historic campaign has been inducted into the Advertising Walk of Fame for being “America’s Favorite Advertising Icon.”
  • He’s been to outer space.
  • Smokey Bear is the only “person” to have their own zip code, besides the president.
  • Smokey is a pop culture icon –he has merchandise and toys, he’s been featured on multiple TV gameshows, his signature phrase “Only you can prevent wildfires” is part of the American lexicon, his style has inspired the likes of Pharrell, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Learn more about Smokey and much more during the SEMO District Fair.

Visit MDC’s Conservation Pavillion during the fair to see live fish, snakes and amphibians. Learn about native plants that help butterflies and other important pollinators, eagles and how to be fire wise at your home. Ask MDC staff conservation-related questions, get educational materials, and have fun.