The arrival of fair season brings about tractor pulls, amusement park rides, funnel cakes and blue ribbons. While there are many county fairs there is only one Ohio State Fair. For first time fair goers, imagine designer chickens, beautified bovine, cut off jeans and neon lights all with the aroma of fried food drifting through the air. That is the Ohio State Fair my friend.
Here are some unique and fun reason why you need make the pilgrimage to the Ohio state fair at least once if not every summer.
The Butter Cow
Every year since 1903 the Butter cow and calf have made their appearance at the State Fair, with their permanent home being in the Dairy Products Building. It is exactly what it sounds likes. An entire cow and calf sculpted out of butter. It is truly a work of butter perfection. The tradition of the butter cow now includes additional butter sculptures relating to cultural and positive ideals in Ohio. This year’s theme featured scenes from the popular “A Christmas Story” movie which was filmed in Cleveland, Ohio. Fun fact: All the butter used in the sculptures is expired and unable to be used. After the Fair the butter is then recycled into an ingredient to make a variety of products.
The Worlds Largest Buckeye
A staple treat for all Ohioans is the buckeye. Even if you are not a fan of this peanut buttery chocolate delicacy, most folks from Ohio can identify a buckeye from a mile away. Ohio is also known as the Buckeye State – it is only fitting that it is home the World’s Largest Buckeye. You can find it on display at the Ohio State Fair. It is in the midst of a candy shop so be prepared to be swallowed up in a sea of endless sugar and confection.
Progressive Fair Dinner
Let’s face it, one of the reasons we love the Fair is the endless bounty of fried goodness that awaits us around every bend. Speaking of buckeyes, have them deep fried! Want fried butter on a stick? They have that, too. It’s hard to settle on any one item, that why we opted to go with a progressive dinner. We visited a variety of booths and got one or two things and split them. It allowed us to try more of the scrumptious fair food. Wanna know what all we got?
What I ate at the Ohio State Fair:
Pork Tenderloin Sandwich- One of the best sandwiches I tried at the fair. You can pick yours up at the Taste of Ohio Cafe.
Beef Brisket Sandwich- You want this to put in your face hole.
Thanksgiving at the Fair- We go this mainly for our little gal. Since I didn’t want to stuff her full of fried foods and sugar this was a great alternative. Don’t forget you can always bring food in for the little ones as well.
Deep Fried Twinkies- Yes, and it is as glorious as it sounds. Who wouldn’t love it?!
Funnel Cake- Ummmm you can’t go to the fair and not get a funnel cake. That would be un-American! I was excited to capture Sophie in the sheer bliss of having her first funnel cake.
Dragon’s Breath- 6 year old me would have loved these nitrogen infused frozen cereal balls that had you blowing smoke after you eat one. 35 year old me took one bite and was immediately appalled. Nothing like dry cold cereal to have you make a mad dash to the tater tot stand.
Chili Cheese Tater Tots- This was heaven after crunching on the dragon’s breath.
This a small fraction of the food options available at the fair. Go out and discover more exquisite fair temptations and then comment below on your findings!
Take a virtual reality tour
It would behoove me to steer you to this interactive exhibit located in the Beef Barn! Take a moment to experience a beef farm like never before! This virtual reality tour transports you directly into everyday life with your new bovine friends. Once you step back into reality, play a round of miniature golf for the low cost of $2, in which all the proceeds goes towards a scholarship for a young local farmer.
Learn Something New
Don’t forget the State Fair is much more than rides and fried food on a stick. The competitions and displays that farmers, 4 H members, and local artisans present are a sight to behold and appreciate. The farmers take great pride in their specialties and are often willing to share and teach you all about their profession. After speaking with a local farmer about dairy cows we were given the opportunity to milk one! An experience for the books and I learned a lot about how labor intensive owning a dairy farm can be.
My advice is to explore all the buildings and make it a point to not leave without learning a new fact or story. For families there are tons of fun interactive exhibits that would be missed if only focusing on the amusement end of things.
The State Fair is massive, therefore we only gave you a taste of what you and your family could experience. Go and see it for yourself and make those memories that will last a life time.
Plan a Weekend Trip
My recommendation is to make the trip to the State Fair a weekend long event. This is the ideal family weekend trip, especially if you are from Cincinnati. You can spend multiple days at the fair or go and explore other attractions in the Columbus area. COSI and the Columbus Zoo are family favorites or venture to a few off beat sites like Corn Henge or the German Village.
Many Thanks to The Ohio State Fair for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.