Following proposals made by state agriculture organizations including Ohio Farm Bureau, Gov. Mike DeWine joined members of the Ohio Expositions Commission Dec. 8 to review the master plan framework that will serve as a launching point to modernize and enhance the Ohio Expo Center and Ohio State Fair for the future.

“The renderings you’re seeing today represent the initial vision for the future of the Ohio Expo Center and Ohio State Fair, which will remain here in the heart of Columbus, its home since 1886,” DeWine said at the commission meeting. “The Ohio State Fair is something to be proud of, and we want to make the guest experience one that is comparable to – if not better than – other best-in-class attractions.”

Emphasizing that agriculture is one of the largest and most important economic sectors in Ohio, Farm Bureau and eight major Ohio agriculture groups sent Expo Center proposals to the governor, the Ohio Expo and State Fair Commission, the State of Ohio, other public sector leaders and influencers, as well as the Ohio Expo 2050 Task Force in February 2022. The initial vision encompasses many of the proposals that support agriculture.

“This vision, which includes new buildings, significant improvements to the existing structures, and new ideas about the use of the overall space and crowd flow, will create major upgrades to the fairgoer experience, whether they are there to demonstrate their 4-H and FFA projects, celebrate agriculture, indulge in fair food, or enjoy top-notch entertainment,” said Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Adam Sharp. “We look forward to learning more about the plan and seeing more details. We appreciate Governor DeWine’s dedication to the Expo Center and Ohio State Fair through this process.”

The strategic vision includes a new overall organization of the Ohio Expo Center property, including the renovation, modernization or demolition of several buildings; the addition of new exhibition facilities, parking garages, and other areas to enhance the guest experience; and improved access between the Ohio Expo Center and the nearby Ohio History Connection. The recommendations also include the development of a new town square and entertainment pavilion.

The proposed enhancements are recommended to occur strategically over a period of several years and do not yet have a specific timeline or estimated cost. The master plan framework will be used by the Ohio Expositions Commission as a guide for future development over the long term as funding can be secured.

I'm eternally grateful for the support Ohio Farm Bureau scholarships provided in helping me turn my dreams into reality.
Bethany Starlin's avatar
Bethany Starlin

Hocking County Farm Bureau

Available scholarships
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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