Join Ohio State Fair General Manager Virgil Strickler and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine and their family as they cut the ribbon to open the 2019 Ohio State Fair on the Youth Center stage.
From the very first Fair held in Cincinnati in 1850, which lasted only three days, to the 12-day exposition of today, the Ohio State Fair has celebrated Ohio's products, its people and their accomplishments.
In 1846, the Ohio Legislature created the 53-member Board of Agriculture. One of the Board's first acts was to establish a District Fair. The resulting 1847 District Fair at Wilmington and the 1848 District Fair at Xenia were both successful, thus warranting a State Fair.
Camp Washington (two miles east of downtown Cincinnati) was the site of the first Ohio State Fair, Oct. 2 - 4, 1850. The site was described as eight to 10 acres with grass slopes, shade trees and numerous tents. The grounds were enclosed by a 10-foot-high board fence. Cattle were tethered to a railing along the carriage road.
The railroads offered strong support to the early state fairs. Special rates were offered whereby exhibits were transported without charge, and the exhibitor rode for half fare.
The public was admitted only on the second and third days of the first Fair. Day one was devoted to setup and judging. Admission was 20 cents, but exhibitors could buy a $1 badge for admission for their families.