The Ohio State Fair, in conjunction with the Ohio Soybean Council, has received an award of distinction in the inaugural Soybean and Environmental Sustainability Awards competition from the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) for its soybean education program at the 2012 Fair.
In addition to receiving first place in its attendance division for the “educational event, exhibit or program for the fairgoing public – soy use” category, the Ohio State Fair was presented with the coveted Judge’s Choice Award for the entire Soybean and Environmental Sustainability Awards competition, which recognized fairs in four different categories, and in each of five divisions based upon attendance. The entries were evaluated and judged by a team of industry leaders selected from the membership of the IAFE.
The multi-faceted program was developed in partnership with the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff to educate fairgoers, farmers and concession vendors about the state’s most abundant and versatile crop, the soybean:
- Many concessionaires made their fried foods healthier by adopting the use of trans fat-free high-oleic soybean oil in their food booths, featuring educational signage alongside the delicious treats.
- Various additional soy-based products, such as hand sanitizer and paint, were used throughout the 360-acre Ohio Expo Center.
- A final educational element was the sponsorship of several buildings and the entire junior livestock show, capped with Ohio Soybean Day, Saturday, Aug. 4. On this day, Ohio soybean farmers greeted fairgoers and answered questions about the uses of soybeans and how farmers grow them. Additionally, potted soybean plants along with signage sharing interesting facts such as “one acre of soybeans can produce 82,368 crayons” were located throughout the grounds.
The Soybean and Environmental Sustainability Awards were developed to encourage fairs to utilize soy products in their operations, educate the public about the soy products, to incorporate environmentally sustainable practices in fair operations as well as to educate the fairgoing public about environmentally sustainable practices.
The Ohio Soybean Council is governed by a volunteer farmer board, which directs the Soybean Promotion and Research Program. The program’s primary goal is to improve soybean profitability by targeting education, marketing and research and development projects through the investment of farmer-contributed funds.
The Ohio Expo Center is proud to host the Ohio State Fair. With a spectacular midway, big-name entertainment, hundreds of exhibits and one of the largest junior fair shows in the nation, the 2013 Ohio State Fair will run July 24 – August 4. In 2012, 840,306 people attended the Ohio State Fair.