Thursday, October 2, 2003

Ohio Moments


First state fair was in Camp Washington

On Oct. 2, 1850, the first Ohio State Fair - to celebrate agriculture and livestock - opened on the banks of the Mill Creek in Camp Washington.

Cincinnati was an ideal site to hold a statewide fair - since most of the livestock raised in southern Ohio would end up in the city's slaughterhouses anyway.

Slated to run in September 1849, it was canceled because of a cholera outbreak. Planners decided to try again the following year, but to hold it later in the season in hopes of avoiding the spread of the disease.

The railroads offered half-fare rates to exhibitors, and more than 25,000 people attended.

General admission was 20 cents, but an exhibitor could buy a $1 badge for his whole family to attend.

No entertainment was staged at the fair, but exhibitors could take home a medal and as much as $20 for winning entries. One $50 prize was awarded for the best essay on "Improving the Soil."

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail rgoodman@enquirer.com or call (513) 768-8361.




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