Ohio State Fair Guide
A guide to the Ohio State Fair in Columbus featuring food and entertainment for the children and adults.
The Ohio State Fair is one of the largest and oldest State Fairs in the country. Held in Columbus, there is fun for all ages, as well as great comfort food and things to buy that you won’t find in any mall.
The Fair is held in the first two weeks in August. It is located in Columbus, Ohio’s capital city a few miles north of downtown, with convenient access off of Interstate 71. There is ample parking in the area, although much of it is on grass, which can be muddy after rain. Plan accordingly. Parking is within easy walking distance, and there are open-air shuttles. For 2007, parking is $5 per vehicle.
There are several entries to the Fair area, which spills out of the fairgrounds into the city streets, but paid admission is required to enter the area. 2007 rates are $8 for adults; $7 for seniors and youth; and children under five are free.
The Fair has dozens of rides, from calm rides such as the carousel and Ferris-wheel to spinning and twirling rides designed to make you second guess the food you just ate. The sky-ride runs down the mid-way, where most of the food stands are located.
Coupons are required for rides, and coupons are $1. All-day ride passes are available through local outlets. For a separate fee, you can ride a helicopter for a great view of the Fair and city.
There are hundreds of food options at the Fair, from substantial meals to snacks and treats. You can get a barbeque sandwich or a full meal in a new cafeteria, but it may be hard to pass up the dozens of stands and trailers offering less-healthy fare.
French fries are available every few feet, mixed in with pizza, fried ravioli, and chicken fingers. Roast corn dipped in butter is almost healthy, since the corn is fresh off of Ohio farms. The deep-fried Twinkies and elephant ears are wonderful to eat, and you can tell yourself that the Fair only comes once a year.
The Fair offers big name entertainment for a separate admission each night. There are horse shows and rodeos, as well as pig races. Separate buildings hold craft exhibits and art, with crafters and artists on hand to demonstrate their skills.
No Fair would be complete with animals, and the Ohio State Fair has every kind of domesticated animal, including cows, pigs, llamas, alpacas, horses, and sheep. Not all of the animals are exhibited every day, so check to see if your favorite will be there when you visit.
The Marketplace and Commercial Pavilions have many vendors offering products for sale, many of which qualify “as seen on TV”. You can see specialty mops and cookware in action, and if you are impressed, take it home.
The State of Ohio has many exhibits set up for educational and informational purposes, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, where special goggles let you simulate a DUI test; the Secretary of State and Department of Natural Resources, which presents demonstrations on boating safety and a lumberjack show.
With enough to do to create memories for a year, the Ohio State Fair is a great place for the whole family to enjoy for two short weeks in August.