In 1886, what is now known as the Ohio Expo Center became the permanent home of the Ohio State Fair. Years of planning and the acquisition of more than 100 acres of beautiful land adjacent to a major railroad intersection in Columbus culminated on August 30, 1886 when the 37th Ohio State Fair opened its gates. The grounds was comprised of a half-mile track and 5,000-seat grandstand, a magnificent main exhibition building, the Power Hall to hold machinery, several small lakes covering approximately three and a half acres, and dozens of barns designed to hold 448 horses, 420 head of cattle, 400 sheep and 450 hogs.
Today, the Ohio Expo Center is one of the most dynamic and unique event venues in the Midwest. It occupies 360 acres in the heart of Columbus, located within a half-day drive for half the nation’s population, and just north of downtown and minutes from Port Columbus International Airport, shopping and hotels.
With more than one million square feet of event space under roof, on-site parking for 14,000 vehicles, seating for 20,000 people and ties for 2,000 cattle, the Ohio Expo Center is one of the most flexible and accommodating sites available. The campus includes 20 unique buildings including historic turn-of-the-century pavilions, modern livestock facilities, multi-purpose buildings, basketball courts, an ice rink and a 10,000-seat arena, the Ohio Expo Center is a facility that can be customized for various events.
The Ohio Expo Center is home to five of Columbus’ top 10 events: the All-American Quarter Horse Congress, Equine Affaire, Goodguys Rod & Custom Car Show, Ohio Beef Expo and Deer & Turkey Expo.
In addition to being home to the annual Ohio State Fair and the Columbus Crew, a Major League Soccer team, more than 175 year-round events are proud to call the Ohio Expo Center home. Events of all types, from sporting events (such as the Ohio Roller Girls Roller Derby, Buckeye Classic gymnastics show, and Ohio Central District Basketball Tournaments), consumer shows (including the Central Ohio Home and Garden Show, Boat & RV Show and Scott Antique Market), banquets, weddings, meetings and conferences are held at the facility each year.