COLUMBUS — Thrilling rides, great food, exciting games, and show-stopping entertainment — there’s no place like the Ohio State Fair.
Happening this year from July 26 through Aug. 6 in Columbus, the Ohio State Fair has been showcasing the best of the Buckeye State since 1850. From the legen-dairy Butter Cow and the Taste of Ohio Cafe to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Park and livestock competitions, there are so many ways to create your next big moment with friends and family.
“Each year, we welcome visitors to the Ohio State Fair to experience the very best our great state has to offer,” Gov. Mike DeWine said. “While visiting, I encourage everyone to explore our picturesque state parks, thrilling amusement parks, and incredible zoos and museums. There is something in Ohio for everyone.”
You could come back to the fair every day and have a new adventure, but for those wanting to extend their stay in the heart of it all and venture out past the fairgrounds, TourismOhio has what you need to plan an unforgettable summer trip.
For those looking to slow down and stroll back in time, the 1800s are just a shuttle ride away from the fairgrounds. The Ohio History Connection and Ohio Village are free to Ohio State Fair attendees and open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
“We hope fairgoers will take advantage of our new ticket partnership with the State Fair to visit the Ohio History Center and Ohio Village for free,” Megan Wood, executive director and CEO of the Ohio History Connection, said. “Fairgoers who show their daily handstamp — which can be obtained at any Fair entry gate — will receive free access to all the historical and educational exhibits and programming we offer at our museum and living-history community next door to the fairgrounds. We look forward to welcoming visitors from all over Ohio.”
Schmidt’s Sausage Haus is the Ohio State Fair’s longest-running vendor, serving bratwurst and sauerkraut to fairgoers since 1914, but if you can’t get enough of the creampuffs and Bahama mamas at the fair the original restaurant is in the German Village neighborhood of Columbus.
Keep the good times going with a visit to the Columbus Commons. This greenspace in downtown Columbus is less than 10 minutes from the fairgrounds and offers free carousel rides daily from 11 a.m. — 7 p.m. and events throughout the summer. Friday mornings are for the kids with inflatables and face painting and Friday evening, you can hear The Ohio State University Marching Band at the first big tailgate of the year as they join the Columbus Symphony for Picnic with the Pops.
If you love the animals at the Ohio State Fair, you’ll want to make the trip to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, home to more than 10,000 animals. Once you’re done monkeying around, you can slide next door to Zoombezi Bay, a 22-acre water park with 17 water slides ranging from mild to wild.
Still trying to cool off? Chill out indoors at one of Columbus’ exciting indoor attractions. For the fourth year in a row, COSI, the interactive science museum, has been voted the no.1 Science Museum in the U.S. Across the street you’ll find the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, which tells the individual stories and shared experiences of veterans throughout history with moving and inspirational exhibits.
Once the camper’s packed up and you’re ready to roll out of the Korbel RV Park, head to one of Ohio’s amazing state parks. Alum Creek State Park, Delaware State Park, and A.W. Marion State Park are great options to experience the beautiful outdoors in central Ohio. From hiking and biking to fishing and kayaking, adventure is waiting for you at one of Ohio’s 75 free state parks.
“There’s no place like the Ohio State Fair, the warm summer nights get a little bit sweeter with the smell of funnel cake in the air,” Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development, which oversees TourismOhio, said. “We look forward to turning your day at the fair into an overnight stay once you see all there is to do in Ohio.”