Annual event celebrates agriculture and family fun

The 2018 Ohio State Fair is officially open, offering agriculture, butter sculptures, education and family fun for the 165th year.

The fair runs July 25 through Aug. 5 at the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus. Aside from the usual assortment of food, vendors, games and rides, there’s the ever-popular butter cow, accompanied this year by a sculpture themed to “A Christmas Story.”

Activities geared to families are plentiful. Natural Resources Park again will host youth fishing, kayaking, archery, dog shows, Ohio wildlife and a new Touch a Truck program. Hands-on exhibits explore STEM, agriculture and more in Ag Is Cool, the Land & Living display and the Youth Building.

Children also might enjoy parades, free concerts, stunt shows, drone racing, appearances by the Budweiser Clydesdales, pig races, a petting zoo, and camel and pony rides (fees apply).

WOSU Kids Day (10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 26) features PBS Kids characters such as Daniel Tiger, Katerina Kittycat, Super Why and Nature Cat.

Too many choices? Try the suggested Family Fun Trail through the fair, at ohiostatefair.com/groups-tours/?camefrom=EMCL_2406483_106757162.

Fair organizers are promoting a number of deals and coupons, including free admission for students who completed fourth grade last school year as well as various discount days. Find the list HERE. General admission at the gate is $10 adults, $8 seniors and children ages 5-12, $6 ages 4 and younger. (Rides and some concerts and activities are extra.) Parking is $5. Two infant care and nursing stations are available.

The event attracts 800,000 to 900,000 people annually. For more information, go to ohiostatefair.com.