Sunday, August 3, 2014

The 12 Things I Discovered at the 2014 Ohio State Fair

I'm excited to say that I've completely my six month stint in Columbus, Ohio.  Tomorrow, I will return to the temporary glory of waking up in the happiness of my own bed, tapping away on my work laptop in the comfort of my pajamas with Ina Garten teaching me the righteous ways inhaling vanilla extract before using it in a batch of cookies.  Life is good.

As fate would have it, my last week in Columbus coincided with the beginning of the Ohio State Fair, an annual two-week event that celebrates fried food, agriculture and iconic music in one fell swoop.

What I learned about The Ohio State Fair was:

1.  It has the standard Midway games and attractions, but with added excitement of a helicopter ride ($40) that takes you over the fairgrounds.  For a quick prize, I'd recommend the guys that guess your weight / age / birth month because it looked like just about everyone got something.

2.  Food signs are much larger and in your face than anything I've seen before.  

3.  Inky Dinky Donuts, near the helicopter launch and the 17th St entrance, is my new favorite thing in the world.

3a.  I found Diana's dream job: ensuring donut quality control by flipping rebel donuts over manually in the hot oil.

3b. While I found myself the best freshly made mini donuts ever made.  $4 gets you 15 donuts, dusted with powdered sugar (with option of rainbow sprinkles) or cinnamon sugar.

The donuts are exceptionally light, but beautifully crisp on the outside.  In sheer seconds, I had inhaled the entire bag myself with no remorse, and with the crumbs remained only sadness that there were no more donuts.  This was definitely the best thing I ate at the fair.

4. Which brings me to the next thing - The Ohio State Fair is cheap.  These little skyway rides cost $3 (the Texas State Fair is a pretty penny more), AND while the rides take coupons / unlimited ride bracelets, the food is all cash.  Who doesn't love that?

5.  The Heritage Crafts building is ultra cute.  Lots of categories of all kinds, including origami below, for people to compete.

5a.  There's so many different food categories to compete as well, including pickled things, candies,


cupcakes, cookies and the mother of all awesome desserts: pies.

6.  Freshly shaken lemonade is all the rage here.  Every tent proclaims fresh lemonade, and for $3, you get a lanky guy to toss you a cold one.

7.  There's lots of free things to do at the fair, like talk to civil war reenactment characters.  Parents were encouraging their kids to, "Ask that man there what they ate during the war."

"Ask him what kind of cannon that is."

8.  The main attraction at the fair tops the wayfinder guide - the butter cow!

The butter cow is found inside the Dairy Building along with ice cream to really put the emphasis on the power of milk.  The state fair special flavor was blueberry sweet corn, which I sampled and decreed as a perfect rendition of Cap'n Crunch cereal.

I grabbed a single scoop of the mint chocolate chip that was larger than my face and proceeded to admire the butter cow.

The cow was a beauty.

There were several other butter things to view also, including a giant can of tomato sauce, a frog,

a scarab and a gorgeous flower.  Ohio has got the butter sculpting down!

9.  The turkey legs are a main attraction here, and I will say they look tremendously better than Texas ones.  The turkey legs are lovingly grilled over open flame

along with so many other carnivorous treats like splatchcocked chickens,

spit-roasted pigs,

and grilled corn that is cooked in husk, and then fully dunked in a vat of melted butter before it is handed over to you piping hot off the grill.  Sweet and delicious.

10.  A couple of treats that the Ohio State Fair has that are unique include the Donut Burger, and a Sloppy Donut version - sloppy joe on a donut, say what??

the roast beef sundae,

(here's a few of us considering this sundae),

as well as the deep fried buckeye (in addition to deep fried anything sweet),

and quarter-pound bacon on a stick for you to gnaw to your fatty content.

11.  I passed all of those sweet options though the minute I found out the existence of the jumbo creampuff from Schmidt's.

The ladies were just placing huge ice-cream scoopfuls of cream into lovely powder-sugar dusted creampuffs.

So for less than ten bucks, I grabbed one of those beauts with a jumbo hot dog and watched a comedy hypnosis show as I clogged my arteries one by one.  The hot dog was of course awesome, as hot dogs often are, with a soft little split bun, and the cream of the cream puff was nothing short of glorious.  I'd say the cream puff itself was a little stale, but the pastry cream more than made up for it.

12.  And so I learned that though the Ohio State Fair is smaller than Texas, has less variety in fried treats, it's still so charming, affordably priced, and tasty all the same.

So long, Columbus.  I guess this would be O-bye-o.


  1. Cannot. look. away. from. BUTTER COW O_O

    Looks like you had fun!! "O-bye-o"

  2. i love the dollar origami! and all the foods i spy. especially the donuts!!