Five new rides as well as 20 exotic animals will be on hand.
By MICHELE C. HLADIK
COLUMBUS -- The trees will be alive at the 2005 Ohio State Fair, or at least a few of them will.
The 12-day event opens Wednesday and promises many new attractions in addition to the traditional fair sights and activities.
Fairgoers may also want to watch the trees closely as roving entertainer Walking Tree Man wanders about.
"If he was in his natural environment, you'd think he was a tree," said Christina Minier, a state fair spokeswoman.
A variety of free entertainment awaits fairgoers including Gentleman Jugglers and the Russian American Kid Circus, which features children under 12.
New food also can be found at the fair, including Rice Krispies treats covered in a variety of toppings and orangesicle floats.
"It's nothing as crazy as we've had in the past, but it's still different," Minier said.
For the healthy-minded
Those looking for a healthier side of the state fair can visit the Health and Wellness Pavilion in the Market Place Building.
The exhibit is expected to feature various health agencies offering checkups and information on a number of health issues.
Amazing Animal Adventure is set to thrill and entertain the crowd with its 20 exotic animals including tigers, cougars and monkeys.
Young thrillseekers can enjoy five new rides in the Kiddieland section including Crazy Plane, Power Surge and Drop Tower, an 80-foot freefall drop.
In addition to the new activities, traditional activities and entertainment can still be found at the state fair, including a variety of rides, games, livestock shows and exhibits, traditional food, arts and craft exhibits by both younger and more experienced Ohioans and exhibits by many of Ohio's departments including the Department of Public Safety.
One of the more recent traditions has been to offer a variety of admission discounts including a $2 admission on opening day. Other discounts are offered on family value day, veterans and military day, motorcycle first Friday and Ohio Lottery Day.
Opening Day ceremony is to begin at 11 a.m. in front of the Coliseum. Fireworks can be seen toward the end of each fair day and the closing day features a country music concert by Ohio natives Rascal Flatts. The closing day concert is a joint effort between the Columbus Crew soccer team and the fair, and requires a special ticket. The concert will be at Crew Stadium, adjacent to the fair grounds.
A variety of big names
Other musical entertainment during the fair will include Sawyer Brown, Bowling for Soup, Faith Evans, Ian Hunter and the Zombies, Grupo Pesado, ZZ Top with Hot Apple Pie, Casting Crowns, Clay Aiken, The von Trapp Children, Brad Paisley, A Prairie Home Companion, United We Funk, Raven, Switchfoot with Sleeping At Last and the All-Ohio State Fair Band and All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir.
This year's admission is $8 for ages 13 to 59, $7 for ages 5 to 12 and Senior Citizens. Gates are open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. Parking is $5.
Ride tickets can be bought for $1 a coupon or $18 dollars for a wristband to ride all day. Discounted ride wristbands can be bought for $15 by Tuesday at any Kroger or Ticketmaster.
More information is available by contacting the fair at (614) 644-FAIR (3247) or at www.ohiostatefair.com.