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Ohio State Fair set to open with a new butter sculpture and an attraction for Ohio history lovers

Karen Kasler

The 168th Ohio State Fair begins Wednesday in Columbus. This year, it's about butter and biographies. Yes, the butter cow and butter sculpture, the latter of which has yet to be unveiled, are fair staples and will be on display again this year.

But biographies will too. For the first time, the Ohio State Fair and the Ohio History Center, which is located at the edge of the fairgrounds, will be joining forces to provide fairgoers who are interested in Ohio history with a special experience.

Alicia Shoults, assistant general manager of the Ohio Expo Center and State Fair, said this year, for the first time, fairgoers can also get access to the Ohio History Center as part of their admission to the fair.

“You just show your hand stamp and we will have a dedicated shuttle that goes back and forth to take you right over to Ohio Village so you can enjoy the Ohio History Center and in addition, Ohio History Center members can use their membership card to get two free admissions to the Ohio State Fair," Shoults said.

Shoults said fairgoers are welcome to bring in their own food and non-alcoholic beverages but they cannot be in glass containers. Of course, she said there will continue to be plenty of deep-fried desserts and dairy delectables available on site too.

Guns can be brought inside the fair gates but if they do, they are not allowed to enter buildings inside the fairgrounds. A magnetometer will be at the entrances. Bags and backpacks will be checked there. She said the Ohio State Highway Patrol will be in charge of security for the event.

Fairgoers can pay for food, games and attractions with cash or credit cards. Shoults said most vendors accept credit for their offerings.

You can get a break on the price of tickets to the fair if you act quickly. Through Tuesday, July 25, advance-sale admission is available on Ticketmaster, fee-free, for just $8 per ticket.

Tickets purchased in advancecan be used any day of the Ohio State Fair, July 26 through August 6. Similarly, advance-sale ride-all-day wristbands are available online through July 25 only as well. Beginning Wednesday, fairgoers will pay the following:

  • $12 a day for adults ages 13 through 59
  • $10 a day for seniors 60 years old and older,
  • $8 a day for children ages 6 to 12
  • Free admission for children under 6 years old, active military, veterans, or first responders

Parking at the fairgrounds is free of charge.
If you want to enjoy the fair rides, you will have to purchase a wristband that will allow you to ride as many rides as you want all day long. The wristbands are $35 per person, per day or you can also save a little by purchasing those in advance as well. Those who might only want to ride an attraction or two can purchase a card for $1 a credit. Most of the rides cost three credits.

There are accommodations for those whose mobility is restricted by sight, hearing or physically. Most of those accommodations, like assisted listening devices, wheelchair charging stations, accessible picnic tables and a sensory-friendly quiet room are available free of charge. Wheelchairs, scooters and strollers can be rented for the day.

There are many attractions and concerts at this year's fair. A full list of them can be found on theOhioStateFair'swebsite. The fair begins July 26 and runs through August 5.

Contact Jo Ingles at
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