Celebrate the centennial of this Central Ohio tradition.

Organizers of the Franklin County Fair plan to celebrate the event's 100th anniversary with a mix of new activities and nostalgic happenings.

“They have really tried to pull out all the stops,” said Stephanie Rauschenbach, the fair's spokeswoman. The annual event runs July 15-22 at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Hilliard.

The Ham Bone Express will make its first appearance at the fair. The pig race, which includes opportunities for audience participation, should be a crowd-pleaser, Rauschenbach said. Nojoe's Circus, a clown-focused traveling big top that features juggling, motorcycle stunts and other silly acts, will perform several times. Families also can watch Jurassic Kingdom, a show that explores prehistoric times and the age of the dinosaur.

Fairgoers curious about the event's history can check out Destination Hilliard's display of photos and memorabilia. They also may want to chat with Abraham and Mary Lincoln, who will be portrayed by re-enactors walking the grounds.

Visitors who come on the fair's last day can take advantage of Heritage Celebration Day at the Historical Village, which is located on the fairgrounds. The event will include music, strolling re-enactors and demonstrations including beekeeping and hogwash soap, rope and broom making. The Historical Village, which is maintained by the Hilliard Ohio Historical Society, will be open all week; it includes an original one-room schoolhouse, church and museum for families to explore.

Another fun option is the Nationwide Children's Hospital Kids Tent featuring a farm-themed obstacle course, crafts and a dig pit filled with corn.

Of course, the fair will include all of the traditional elements, including the livestock barn, 4-H exhibits, food vendors and carnival rides, Rauschenbach said. The event is a great summer outing, she said. “The county fair offers an intimate, nostalgic fair experience—more like the fairs of yesteryear,” she said. “With the $7 admission, it's really an affordable family night out.”

—Melissa Kossler Dutton