A Fair Summer
July 2012 Issue
July 2012 Digest
New attractions at the Ohio State Fair, hiking's added benefits, a path to geological history.
Nothing says summer like the Ohio State Fair: Delectable jams, jellies and pies just like great-grandma used to make; a taste-tempting assortment of midway food (pass the elephant ears and corn dogs, please); the thrill of conquering the Giant Slide that towers 144 feet above ground; and, lest we forget, the — er — earthy ambiance of the livestock in residence.
From the very first event — a three-day fest held in Cincinnati in 1850 — to this year’s 12-day extravaganza July 25–Aug. 5, the Ohio State Fair truly showcases the best of the Buckeye State.
A not-to-be-missed addition: Agriculture is Cool, an education program that helps everyone understand how Ohio’s largest industry impacts their every day life. (After all, we all enjoy the fruits —and vegetables — of nature’s bounty. But rarely do we stop and think about how it gets to us.) Interactive stations explore topics ranging from food safety to the artistry behind spinning wool. Participants can actually try their hand at milking a cow and compare their current weight to that of four-legged creatures from the animal kingdom.
Clearly, there’s fun for everyone. (Be sure to stop by the Ohio Magazine
booth to say hi. We’ll be looking for you.)
— Linda Feagler
Check out these daily attractions at the fair.
• 10 a.m.–8 p.m.: “Aussie Kingdom” takes visitors on a journey Down Under in a show starring marsupial kangaroos, wallaroos and wallabies, along with other Australian wildlife.
•10 a.m.–9 p.m.: “Celebrate Local” features Ohio-produced, handmade, seasonal and artisanal items, and locally sourced foods from the Buckeye State.
• 10 a.m.–9 p.m.: “Chocolate Farm: 200 Years of Impacting, Educating and Caring for Our Fairtastic Community” commemorates the Columbus bicentennial with a sculpted farm and surrounding community constructed entirely of 500 pounds of American-made chocolate.
•10 a.m.–9 p.m.: Civil War Encampment explores the daily lives of Union soldiers by demonstrating tasks ranging from food preparation to bullet-making.
Ohio State Fair
July 25–Aug. 5
Ohio Expo Center
717 East 17th Ave., Columbus, 43211, 614/644-3247, 888/OHO-EXPO. ohiostatefair.com
Hours: 9 a.m.–10 p.m. (except Aug. 5 until 8 p.m.)
Admission: $10 adults ages 13–59, $8 youth ages 5–12, seniors age 60 and over
A Walk Through Time
Rocks are for more than just collecting. Ohio’s geology is closely tied to the state’s economic, architectural, industrial and agricultural history and future. Opening this month, a new exhibit in Columbus will bring the importance of geology to the surface.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Geological Walk Through Time, a 286-foot-long educational walkway, opens July 25 at the Ohio State Fairgrounds.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)-accessible brick path meanders through 450 million years of geological history. Changeable signage and QR codes for phone apps help visitors learn more about the state’s bedrock. The focal point of the permanent exhibit is the world’s largest geological bedrock map, showing the 88 counties of Ohio.
“I like the idea of a big map that people can walk on and find where they live,” says landscape architect Gary Meisner of Meisner + Associates/Land Vision in Cincinnati, who developed the original master plan for the Geo Walk. “All of us are beneficiaries of the natural resources under our feet.”
Ohio’s bedrock has supplied sandstone for grindstones, limestone for monuments and buildings (including the Ohio State House) and roadway materials.
The exhibit will also include specimens that visitors can see and touch, including salt blocks and coal, a fossil fuel.
Much of the credit for the Geo Walk concept goes to former First Lady of Ohio Hope Taft. She created the state’s Heritage Garden at the Governor’s Residence in 2000, and is well know for her botanical knowledge. Taft knew specific plants grow best in the soils of their ecosystems, and soil comes from bedrock. Her curiosity in geology was piqued, and she worked with geologists and other interested groups and individuals to make the Geo Walk a reality.
“The more I learned the more I wanted to share,” says Taft, adding that the Geo Walk was funded through private donations and has been donated to the ODNR.
The Geo Walk is open to the more than 800,000 visitors a year who visit the fairgrounds. The exhibit is also expected to be an important resource for teachers and their students and a new tourist attraction.
Visiting the exhibit and timeline path is like walking through a prehistoric time warp. Simple but meaningful landscaping will be added to enhance the area and will most likely include some of the world’s oldest plants, including ferns, gingko trees and dawn redwoods. Like the earth itself, says Meisner, the Geo Walk will evolve over time. — Jill Sell
It’s as simple as taking a hike. Through August 8, we have a great excuse to get out and get active. The Nature Conservancy of Ohio has partnered with Honda of America to give away one Honda Insight Hybrid and five $500 REI gift cards to people who participate in the conservancy’s new program, Natural Treasures of Ohio.
Visit one or all of the 30 landmarks designated as natural treasures and upload photos to the organization’s website or Facebook page for a chance to win.
“For each place you go to, you get an entry,” says Josh Knights, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Ohio. “We just want people to get out there and take photos and have a great day.”
According to Knights, the Conservancy had a hard time selecting 30 sites from the state’s array of outdoor attractions, but the goal was to create a diverse list of places in both rural and urban areas so that people could take a day, weekend or even a week to explore. The website lists the sites by region, making it easy to plan a vacation or day trip around them.
For some people, the attractions can be visited during regular family outings. Popular destinations — such as Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Brecksville and Ash Cave in Logan — are on the list, as well as other hiking, biking, birding and fishing areas, such as Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve in Newark, Side Cut Metropark in Maumee and Ault Park in Cincinnati.
“When you start tallying up,” says Knights, “it’s a really impressive list of places that are here in the state.” — Jessica Esemplare
For more information, visit nature.org/naturaltreasuresohio.