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State Fair kicks off with visit from Governor
COLUMBUS, Ohio (OFBF) - The Ohio State Fair got off to a soggy start on Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits of eager fairgoers and the activity in Ohio Farm Bureau Federation's (OFBF) "Land and Living" exhibit.
Early morning scenes in the building included children planting flowers to take home, climbing a giant corn wall, petting puppies, watching chicks and turkeys hatch and more.
As he has done in years past, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland took a stroll through the Nationwide Donahey Ag & Hort Building to take in the sights and sounds of the Land and Living display. Strickland was accompanied by Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Robert Boggs, Ohio State Fair General Manager Virgil Strickler and other Ohio State Fair Commissioners.
Strickland browsed Our Ohio’s Growing a Masterpiece display, featuring large postcards decorated by Farm Bureaus from each county in the state. Fair visitors may vote for their favorite postcard at the fair, and anybody can vote online at www.OurOhio.org. Strickland plans to vote for his favorite on Aug. 6 during a return visit to the building.
The governor said the Ohio State Fair is a great way for families to experience all that is Ohio without having to get too far away from home, and called Land and Living a “wonderful exhibit.”
“Farm Bureau and Ohio belong together,” he said. “Farm Bureau does so much to promote agriculture.”
He said he wants more Ohioans to understand that agriculture is Ohio’s No. 1 industry. “Ohio agriculture is something we’re very proud of. It employs so many people and provides good, healthy food for citizens. The food (Ohioans) get is the cheapest among anywhere on earth because of the productivity of our farming community and the abundance of agricultural products that are produced right here in the good old state of Ohio.”
Ohio State Fair’s Strickler said the purpose of the displays in the building is evident. “(The exhibit) tells agriculture what the visitors want to have here,” he said. “It’s the explanation behind everything that’s here that I appreciate the most.”
OFBF Executive Vice President Jack Fisher guided the governor through multiple displays in the building promoting the importance of agriculture in Ohio and introduced him to those working the exhibit.
“The governor is a strong supporter of Ohio agriculture, and we need to keep him engaged in terms of the economic contributions of the industry,” Fisher said. “He grew up in an agricultural setting, milking cows by hand, and worked ground with a team of horses. Having somebody with his life experience is a strong point for us to build on in Ohio agriculture.”
Fisher said the opportunity for Ohioans to learn about agriculture has never been greater.
“We have the opportunity for youngsters to come in (to the exhibit) and become engaged with agriculture in a fun way, plus there’s signage for mom and dad to learn about higher issues we’re involved in,” said Fisher.
State Auditor Mary Taylor also visited the building Wednesday afternoon. A photo of her visit is attached above.
The Ohio State Fair runs through Aug. 9.