Are you ready for a staycation right in your Ohio backyard? Pack up your car and head to the Fair – there are so many ways to turn a visit into a full day or weekend of fun. The Ohio State Fair offers endless exciting activities, exhibits and attractions so it’s easy to plan a mini vacation or road trip to the Fair. Here are some ideas and tips to plan your visit to Columbus for the 2017 Ohio State Fair.

Advance-Sale Tickets

There are numerous discounts on admission and rides when you buy early for your trip to the Fair. If you’re planning a weekend getaway, purchase your tickets online in advance to save time and money. Visit for more information.



With 195 food vendors at the Ohio State Fair, there are options for every appetite. Your road trip can quickly turn into a food lover’s dream as you explore the countless options at the Fair from classic corn dogs to daring deep-fried buckeyes. On a budget? Coolers, food and non-alcoholic beverages are also permitted at the Fair.


Before heading to the Fair for the weekend, it’s important to pack some essentials so your family can fully enjoy their experience. Here are a few items you won’t want to forget as your make your way to Columbus:

  • Sunscreen – Spending a few days in the hot Ohio sun can lead to some serious sunburns, so you won’t want to forget sunscreen for your weekend at the Fair. Make sure to bring sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply frequently.
  • Comfy shoes – It’s easy to walk a many miles during your day at the Fair, so make sure to pack comfortable shoes for your family members. Additionally, strollers, wagons, wheelchairs and lockers are available for rent just inside the Cardinal and OHIO Gates on a limited basis. Visit for more information.
  • Smart Phone – You won’t want to forget your phone at the Fair! The Fair offers a variety of charging stations so that your phone is ready to go for taking photos, using the Fair’s new and improved Food Finder, finding the Fair’s six new Snapchat filters and more.


The Ohio Expo Center & State Fair has numerous preferred hotel partners in the Columbus area. If you plan on staying the night for your trip to the Fair, consider making a reservation at one of these six options for a relaxing night in the Columbus area:

Mention the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair to receive a special rate!

  • Baymont Inn & Suites


  • Best Western Columbus


  • Candlewood Suites – Polaris


  • Crowne Plaza – Columbus North


  • Holiday Inn Express – Hudson


  • Holiday Inn Express – OSU


Make Your Trip Feel Like a Vacation

With the amount of activities, exhibits, games, foods and more at the Fair, it is easy to make your day trip or weekend get away feel like a full family vacation. Check out the following fun activities to fulfill your road trip to the Fair.

  • Natural Resources Park – The Ohio State Fair offers an 8-acre park for fairgoers to experience Ohio’s outdoors. Experience kayaking, archery, a log cabin, fishing and more as you take a vacation in your own Ohio backyard – all for free!
  • Mountain Dew Midway and Meijer Kiddieland – If a trip to the amusement park is one of your summer vacation favorites, then the Fair is the place for you! There are more than 60 rides at the Mountain Dew Midway and Kiddieland offers fun rides for younger fairgoers. Plan on experiencing the many rides at the Fair during your day trip or weekend visit.
  • Shopping – There are more than 300 commercial exhibitors at the Ohio State Fair, so make sure you include shopping in your Fair plans.
  • Parade – The parade is a wonderful opportunity for families to experience an exciting and musical atmosphere at the Fair. Watch local celebrities, honorees, costumed characters, entertainers and special guests every day at 4 pm (no parade Aug. 6) make their way through the Fair for a unique and exciting afternoon.
  • Petting Zoo – Take a trip around the world as you interact with a variety of animals at the free Petting Zoo in Meijer Kiddieland. Animals include goats, llamas, zebras, antelope, camels, kangaroos and much more.
  • Mascot – Interact with the Fair’s mascot, Butters D. Cow! He has been a Fair family member since 2002 and makes a trip to the Fair very special.
  • Butter Cow – Each year, calf and cow sculptures are crafted to be displayed in the Fair’s Dairy Products Building. In addition to the calf and cow, a yearly featured sculpture is created to reflect the positive ideals and cultural trends in Ohio. Past featured sculptures include a tribute to The Ohio State University Buckeyes, a tribute to Ohio’s dairy farmers, a bald eagle and more.
  • OVMA Veterinary Educational Center – Visit this exciting attraction at the Fair to learn about lots of different animals! You can even witness the birth of a baby animal – something you definitely don’t get to see every day.

Daily Schedules

If you are planning a road trip to the Fair, make sure to look at the Fair’s Daily Schedule on our website. Daily Schedules are posted at Take a look at all of the events occurring at the Fair to create an exciting vacation for your family.



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