The Ohio State Fair is on Wed., July 27-Sun., Aug 7 at the Ohio State Fairgrounds. With live concerts from Grammy-nominated artists, petting zoos with 50 different farm animals + a life-sized butter cow and calf — the fair is back in full force.
So, in honor of this 170+ year tradition, we’re buttering up 10 “did you know?” facts.
- The first Ohio State Fair took place at Camp Washington in Cincinnati on Oct. 2-4, 1850 where roughly 25,000-30,000 people attended.
- There were 10 different host cities for the fair from 1850-1886 — Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, Newark, Sandusky, Zanesville, Toledo, Springfield, and Mansfield.
- The first two times Columbus hosted the fair was in 1851 + 1855, both at the current site of Mt. Carmel Hospital.
- Both Schiller Park, 1864-1865, and Franklin Park, 1874-1875, were Columbus sites for the fair.
In 1886, the fair moved to the Ohio State Fairgrounds where it has stayed ever since.
- The iconic sculpture of a cow and calf made from butter started in 1903 by A.T. Shelton & Company, dairy farmers at the time.
- Why a cow? It was for a butter sculpture contest that had no restrictions and people loved it so much, it became a mainstay in 1925. (Bonus: Check out this gallery of past contests.)
- Now, artists must recreate the 2,200 lb butter cows each year, which is later stored in a 45º cooler, so it doesn’t become a butter bath.
- The fair now attracts 900,000+ attendees each year, with an estimated 500,000 checking out the butter cows.
- While the fair is now 12 days long, it used to be 17 days long from 1981-2003.