Ohio State Fair 2011: A Comprehensive Guide

The Ohio State Fair is an annual exhibition held at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus that showcases Ohio farming and commercial products and achievements. The 158th annual Ohio State Fair will take place from July 27 — August 9, 2011 at the Ohio State Fairgrounds on 17th Avenue in Columbus, Ohio.

The Ohio State fair provides a lot of fun for all ages.

This article describes a brief history of the Ohio State Fair, gives a list of concert headliners and provides a guide for fairgoers with basic information on ticket prices, hours, rides, parking and more. For the first time since 2007, the fair will offer nightly fireworks. See below for information.

According to Ohio History Central, the first Ohio State Fair was held in the city of Cincinnati in 1850 and lasted 3 days. In the early years of the fair, most visitors and exhibitors came from the general vicinity of where the fair was being held. Transportation connecting the state together was still limited. As a result, the Board of Agriculture decided to move the fair to a different location each year so that more people would have access to it over time. Ultimately, the Board decided that the state capital should be the permanent site for the state fair, and it moved to Columbus in 1874. By the 1870s, the state’s railroad system had improved significantly, and it was much easier to travel from all parts of the state.

The current fairgrounds, known today as the Ohio Expo Center, were completed in 1886. The Ohio State Fair has been held at these fairgrounds ever since.

This year, the Ohio State Fair celebrated its 158th opening. The fair has grown tremendously over the years, expanding from a three-day event in 1850 to 13 days in 2011.

Headliners this year Keisha, Summer of Love tour including Tank, Chrisette Michele, and Avant, Meatloaf, Seether, David Crowder, Loretta Lynn and the Oak Ridge Boys, Big Time Rush, Trace Adkins, the O’Jays, Journey with special guests Foreigner and Night Ranger, Melissa Etheridge, and Brad Paisley featuring Blake Shelton and Jerrod Niemann.

Here is basic information you will need if you plan to attend the Ohio State Fair:

The Admission gates open at 9 a.m. and close at 10 p.m., except on August7th the gates will close at 8 p.m.

The gate admission prices are as follows:

Adults (ages 13-59) $10
Youth (ages 5-12) $8
Senior (ages 60+) $8
Children (under five) Free

There are discounts on admissions and ride wristbands. Tickets are available for $6.00 through August 7 at Kroger, participating AAA locations with AAA membership and Ticketmaster outlets. You can purchase ride-all-day wristband vouchers (to be redeemed at the Fair for a wristband) for only $19 at Kroger stores and Ticketmaster outlets through July 26 only.

Ride tickets are available for $1.00. Most kiddie rides require one coupon; super kiddie and spectacular rides require two coupons; super spectacular rides require three coupons.Special ride-all-day wristbands are available for $22.

For a PDF of daily events, got to: Ohio State Fair Daily Events

For Directions to the Fair: Google Directions

Parking is $5 per vehicle. There is easy access to AAA Parking Lots from I-71 at the 17th Avenue exit and the Hudson Street exit at Silver Drive. Handicapped parking is available. You can ride the complimentary shuttle to and from the main entrance gate and your vehicle.

A map of the fair itself can be found at: Ohio State Fair Map

Safey is of utmost important to the fair committee. Therefore, prior to entry, you will be asked to walk through a magnetometer. Purses, backpacks, book bags, coolers, strollers, etc. are permitted, but are subject to search. You may bring your own food and beverages.

Stroller, Wagon, Wheelchair and Locker Rentals are available only at the Cardinal and OHIO Gates.Stroller: $9/day; wagon: $13/day; manual wheelchair: $15/day; electric cart: $50/day, $35 after 5 pm; lockers: $1/day. Supplies are limited and available for rent on a first-come, first-served basis.

On-grounds “gridSMART from AEP Ohio On-Ground Shuttles” make frequent stops around the perimeter of the grounds, 10 am – 8 pm (Sunday – Thursday) and 10 am – 10 pm Fridays and Saturdays, for free.

First Aid is located on the east side of the Nationwide Ag/Hort Building. Basic first aid is provided. Hours are 10 am — 11 pm weekdays, 10 am — midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

The Ohio State Fair provides a number of facilities and accommodations for fairgoers with disabilities. Buildings and most restrooms are handicap accessible. Both motorized and non-motorized wheelchairs can be rented near the main entrances of the Fair. ASL signed interpretation is provided at most WCOL Celeste Center performances. Assisted listening devices are available for use free of charge at the WCOL Celeste Center, Main Street Stage and Gazebo Stage. Visitors must leave a photo ID.

ATMs are located throughout the Fair for your convenience. Please refer to the Fair map for specific locations.

Information Booths are located throughout the fairgrounds: You can ask for directions or information and pick up a copy of the daily schedule and map at various locations around the grounds.

ATMs are located throughout the fair for your convenience. Please refer to the fair map for specific locations.

The Ohio State Fair Committee recycles. Look for specially marked recycling containers to deposit your recyclable plastic bottles, cans, cardboard and clean paper.

Fireworks: For the first time since 2007, fairgoers can end their night at the Fair with a special fireworks show at approximately 9:45 p.m. nightly. This tradition is able to return to the 2011 Ohio State Fair thanks to a generous sponsorship provided by Team RealTree, the Sportsman’s Drink at the Fair.

Fourth Graders at the Fair: As part of a new agricultural program at the fair, exiting fourth grade students and one chaperone can come to the Fair for free on any one day, July 27 – Aug. 6, to take part in this program, upon presentation of the student’s valid report card at the entrance gates. Exiting fourth grade students will also be able to enter an essay about their agricultural education experience for the chance to win one of four $500 scholarships. Learn more about this exciting opportunity, as well as a competition open to all Ohio students, and review complete rules at www.agri.ohio.gov.

New Ohio Products at the Fair: Wine and Beer – For the first time since the Fair has been held at its current site (1886), the Ohio State Fair will welcome two new Ohio agricultural commodities — wine and beer — to the Ohio State Fair. Ohio wines which have received the Ohio Quality Wine (OQW) or Gold Medal certification will be sold in the Taste of Ohio Caf, home to Ohio’s agricultural commodity groups, and the WCOL Celeste Center during adult concerts only. Ohio beer will be available in the WCOL Celeste Center during adult concerts only. Educational talks with Ohio wineries and vineyards will take place daily in the Taste of Ohio Caf.

Feed Ohio Day: Thanks to presenting sponsor Worthington Industries and generous supporter Cardinal Health, the Fair will hold Feed Ohio Day on Friday, July 29. Fairgoers who bring two canned food items to a special redemption center outside the entrance gates before 3 p.m. will receive a voucher good for $3 admission to the Fair. All donations collected will go to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. According to recent statistics, one of six people in Ohio is at risk of hunger.


Text Updates: For regular updates and daily schedules you can Text “FAIR” to 82672

Mobile Updates: Visit our mobile sites to access our Fair Food Finder and daily schedules! Also, receive text messages and coupons sent directly to your phone!

Email Newsletter: To sign up for an email newsletter go to: Ohio State Fair Newsletter

Address: Ohio State Fair, 717 East 17th Avenue, Columbus Ohio 43211

Phone: (614) 644-3247 (Recorded Information Line) TDD: (614) 644-4009

Picnics and shelters: If you are interested in reserving the Cardinal Shelter for a catered picnic at the Fair, please visit Concessions by Cox or call 614-297-0735.


Ohio History Central, “Ohio State Central,” web, July 2011