COLUMBUS - The Ohio State Fair starts this Wednesday, July 25, and fair officials have collaborated with staff at the Ohio Department of Aging to offer some tips and tools for individuals, families and groups planning to attend. The advice centers around things all fairgoers should consider for a safe and enjoyable visit, with tips specifically tailored to older adults and groups attending with older adults or people with special needs.
"The Ohio State Fair is wonderful entertainment for families and groups, and a little advance planning will mean you'll spend less time worrying and more time enjoying everything the fair has to offer," said Bonnie Kantor-Burman, director of the department.
"We work to make the Ohio State Fair comfortable and accommodating to visitors of all ages," explained Ohio State Fair General Manager Virgil Strickler. "We have several air-conditioned buildings, a shaded Natural Resources Park and plenty of stages to sit and relax while enjoying a show."
Planning your visit
- Check the Ohio State Fair website before you go for hours, maps, admission prices, discounts and information for groups.
- Make a budget for your visit. Know how much you expect to spend for parking, admission, food, gifts and other expenses. Include some padding, but try to keep to your budget. Leave unneeded credit cards at home.
- The fair offers a wide variety of concessions with just about any type of food or drink you could want, but fair visitors are allowed to bring their own food and drinks. This is especially helpful if anyone in your group has special dietary needs.
- The Ohio State Fair welcomes guests with wheelchairs and motorized mobility scooters. Limited rentals are available on a first-come, first-served basis. A free shuttle service is available to help visitors get around the grounds.
- Bring any necessary medications with you in a sealed, waterproof container. Also bring a list of the medications you take, along with dosage information.
- The Ohio State Fair does not allow pets on-grounds during the Fair.
During your visit
- Wear light-colored, lightweight, all-cotton clothing. It absorbs less heat from the sun, allows good air circulation and dries quickly if it gets wet. Wear comfortable and broken-in shoes and bring a change of socks.
- Wear sunscreen on any exposed skin. Reapply sunscreen every few hours, according to package label instructions. Wear sunglasses with UV protection. Also consider a hat with a brim to protect your face and eyes from the sun.
- The air-conditioned MarketPlace building and the shaded Natural Resources Park offer escapes from the heat and sun.
- Drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages throughout the day. Watch for signs of dehydration and heat-related illness, such as muscle cramps, light-headedness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, flushed or clammy skin and disorientation. Seek cool environments and medical attention if you or someone in your group experiences symptoms.
- Know your limitations when riding rides. Safety restrictions are posted, but ask the ride operator if you are unsure. If you are not comfortable in the ride restraints, ask to be let off the ride before it begins.
Visiting with a group
- Carefully consider if each member in your group is physically and mentally capable of handling the activities of the day and if you have adequate support to ensure each person's safety and enjoyment.
- Make sure a responsible person in your party has a mobile phone and have everyone in your group carry that number in their phones or on a piece of paper.
- Give each person in your group a waterproof ID card or tag that lists his or her name, phone number and any allergies, as well as the name and mobile phone number of a responsible person in your party. Make sure everyone knows what to do if they get separated from the group (e.g., go to first aid or security station or pre-arranged meeting spot).
- Remember where you parked and identify a permanent and identifiable landmark nearby (such as a tree or building). Be sure everyone in your group knows how to find it.
- Agree upon a meeting place and regular check-in times throughout your visit. Good places include the entrance you came in, first aid and Highway Patrol stations, and any unmistakable attractions, such as the 10-foot cardinal at the Cardinal Gate, or the giant O-H-I-O carved tree in Central Park.
The Department of Aging offers a Summer Fun and Safety Toolkit, which includes a tip sheet for visiting Ohio's fairs, festivals and other destinations, a "Friend and Family Finder" tool and information about heat-related illnesses and older adults.
On Tuesday, July 31, the Ohio State Fair is hosting Senior Day with special pricing for groups and a free lunchtime concert featuring the Cab Calloway Orchestra in the WCOL Celeste Center.
About ODA - The Ohio Department of Aging works to ensure that our elders are respected as vital members of society who continue to grow, thrive and contribute. We work with state agencies and community partners, including area agencies on aging, to help integrate aging needs into local plans and ensure that aging Ohioans have access to a wide array of high-quality services and supports that are person-centered in policy and practice. Our programs include the PASSPORT Medicaid waiver, caregiver support, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.
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