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Posted by on Jul 26, 2013 in Featured, Ohio Agricultural History | 0 comments

A Brief History of the Ohio State Fair

A Brief History of the Ohio State Fair

An arena for invention.  A panorama of progress.  An opportunity for education.  A celebration of culture.  Many Ohioans look forward to the Ohio State Fair like its Christmas.  It is an opportunity for citizens all across the state of Ohio to come together for enjoyment.  It is an opportunity for people of elsewhere to see just how innovative and special Ohio truly is.  Above all, it is a long-standing tradition.

One of the first acts of the State Board of Agriculture, created in 1846, was to establish a state fair.  The first Ohio State Fair was originally scheduled for September of 1849, but was postponed until early October of 1850 due to a widespread outbreak of cholera.   The first state fair lasted three days, and was held just two miles east of downtown Cincinnati.  The cost of admissions was twenty cents.  For several years the fair was movable, and was held in various towns and cities across the state.  In 1886 the fair acquired its permanent location on the beautiful fairgrounds just north of the city of Columbus, where it still sits today.

We were the first state in America to have an electric lighting system at our state fair, which made nighttime festivities such as car racing possible as early as 1896. Ohio was also the first state in the country to have a junior fair, which we added in 1929. As past State Fair Manager D. Robert Jones stated in 1957, “It’s in the show arenas and demonstration areas that enterprising youngsters learn how to function in a society through actual participation.”   Today we still find great value in the agricultural education and participation of our youth.  Our fair lasts twelve days instead of just three, and there are uncountable events, activities, concerts and competitions for people of all ages to enjoy.

For more information about the upcoming Ohio State fair, visit The Ohio Expo Center.


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