Thank you to The Ohio State Fair for sending us a free fair package in exchange for this post. No other compensation has been received. All opinions are our own. You’ll find a full disclosure statement here.
This past week I got the amazing opportunity to check out the Ohio State Fair up in Columbus! You might think that being a native Ohioan, I probably go to the fair every year. You would be… WRONG! This year was actually my first year visiting the Ohio State Fair. I had only been to the local ones in Jackson, Ross, and Scioto counties. I was really excited to go because it was something I had never been to before, and you know how I love an adventure! So strap in guys, this is a photo filled post about the great time I had up at the Ohio State Fair this year!
Even though I am adventurous, I do like to at least know what is roughly going on, so I consulted their website and basically found everything I needed to plan the day there. I was also a little concerned initially that there wouldn’t be a ton that would interest me. It seemed like there were a ton of activities & things for kids, and families with small kids, so I didn’t know if I would find much for me and my family to enjoy. I have to say though, after being there I had no reason to be concerned. While there were a ton of great activities for kids, there were also a lot of fun things for adults to see & do.
I was impressed how well kept and organized everything was, even down to the restrooms. It was really impressive compared to some other places & fairs that I’ve been to. Plus they really have the guests concerns in mind with different cooling stations, shuttles for transportation, and plenty of air conditioning in buildings. Of course, it was the opposite of blazing hot when I went up there. The day started out cloudy, then turned to rainy, which made us appreciate the buildings and places we could go even more. Even though it was a bit on the rainy side we didn’t let that get us down.
Even right near the entrance we explored different things we could do. Of course, first my brother had to get himself a fresh lemonade. He’s obsessed with it every fair, carnival, etc place we go. So he was already a happy camper with his favorite refreshing drink.
Of course I was immediately drawn to the kids activities. What can I say, I’m 26 going on 5. If I were small enough to pass I would totally get in on some of the AG is Cool activities they had going on. They had a mini tractor track that I was totally eyeing. Actually, I did totally take advantage of the farmer photo opp. How could I not?
I loved that all of the activities that they had in the AG is Cool stations were not only fun for kids, they were educational. A lot of it was about farming heritage, community, animals, growing food, and more. I kept saying to my Dad and brother, if I had a small kid I would totally bring them. So I highly recommend these activities for kids. They’ll not only have tons of fun, they will learn a few things. Which is always a good thing in my book.
Next we made our way over to Cardinal Hall where they had a lot of craftsmen, art, and food exhibitions. This was probably my favorite building because as an artist, I found a lot of the stuff so beautiful and fascinating. It was amazing to see some of the artwork from youth and adults, as well as check out the food judging, and get in on the arts & crafts activities. I was glad to see that the arts were well represented at The Ohio State fair, even down to doing ceramics activities with the kids. As an artist it was fantastic to see.
We were also able to get in on one of the live cooking demonstrations that were being done in the building. Plus we got to enjoy the giant model trains and layouts that were there. It was so neat!
Of course I managed to get in a selfie with one of the gorgeous quilts that were on display. There was SO MUCH talent here, it was amazing to see all of the work and mediums represented.
One of my favorite set ups in Cardinal Hall was there cake decorating contest, and seeing all of the work and talent that goes into decorating a fantastic cake. King Kong was definitely my favorite. The creator took great detail in making this, even down to the saliva. That’s some dedication and awesomeness.
After leaving Cardinal Hall we went on to explore the main path down the fairgrounds and got to see a lot of cool acts, and music. They had a lot of traveling performers that really made the walk fun and come alive. Not to mention smelling all of the wonderful FOOOODD! Smelling plethora of cooking food was really making us hungry. Coincidentally, it was also starting to rain, so we decided it was time to head into the Taste of Ohio Cafe for some grub!
Not only was the Taste of Ohio Cafe our shelter in time of downpour, it had some amazing foods. I loved that all of the different associations were represented here, like the Ohio Pork Council and Ohio Poultry Association. There were a ton of great things to eat, and you could watch some live cooking demonstrations as well. It was great to see a lot of Ohio pride in agriculture and ohio made products. I definitely try to buy Ohio/locally made or grown stuff when I can so seeing this was great.
I also have to say, out of all of the places that I saw where you could get food, this was probably the best value. As a frugal person myself, I thought it was really nice to be able to get a filling, fresh meal here for around $10 a person. Compared to seeing the mountains of fried food for $8 or more for 1 thing, having the Taste of Ohio Cafe was really refreshing. I even got to talk with a few of the FFA kids who were running the booths, which was nice.
My Dad and I ended up chowing down on an amazing Pork Wrap, while my brother opted for the Grilled Chicken Sandwich. The pork wrap was made with sliced pork loin and topped with BBQ sauce, ranch dressing, cheese, tomato and lettuce. It was AMAZING. We loved it so much we even decided to make our own version for dinner the other night with our own pulled pork. (Maybe it will make an appearance on the blog soon!)
Of course I couldn’t leave without trying the official Ohio State Fair ice cream flavor, Cereal and Milk. It was amazing! I loved that vanilla with honey graham swirl. So good, and the perfect dessert for my Ohio made meal.
After eating our fill at the Taste of Ohio Cafe, we went over to the Nationwide Donahey Ag & Hort Building to see all of the other AG is cool activities going on there as well as check out the horticulture exhibits. As a plant lover I loved looking at the unique arrangements, containers, and styles used to make some fabulous displays. We also checked out the vendor areas where people were selling all different kinds of products, as well as collectibles and antiques. I really had to hold back and not spend all my money buying comic books, figures and such.
We also made our way over to the 2018 Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition on display, which I loved. I would have taken TONS of photos there, but they requested we not take photos of the artwork there, so I didn’t. Just know it was amazing, and there was a Bowser sculpture there you MUST see.
After seeing the arts show we made our way back around to the Dairy building to see the butter sculptures. It was amazing to think how much work went into making those sculptures completely from butter. We also got to make a few dairy cow and calf friends outside the building. Baby cows are SO CUTE! On our way back to the main path we even got to see some of the harness competitions with horses & ponies.
We wrapped up our trip by getting some drinks & snacks on our way back to the entrance. We were tired, and definitely wet by this time. Due to the weather we actually ended up cutting our trip a bit short. We wanted to check out the Natural Resources Park to see the lumberjack show, and of course Smokey the Bear, but it just got too rainy for us, and especially my camera. We still had already seen and done so much we weren’t down about leaving a little early. lol.
All in all we had a great first time at the fair, and we will definitely be back next year. We’re already planning our trip, and seeing how we can incorporate more of Columbus into our visit. I highly recommend taking your family up to the Ohio State Fair. There’s sure to be something that everyone in your family will enjoy, and tons of fun to be had. You can still visit this year until Aug. 6th! For more information check out the Ohio State Fair website.
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