A beautiful, warm sunny mid October Thursday brought an eclectic agenda with the primary event a visit to the Fairfield County Fair. But first a visit to the Central Ohio Fire Museum in downtown Columbus.
The Central Ohio Fire Museum is dedicated to current and past firefighters, as well as a focus on fire prevention. They have an excellent collection of hand-drawn, horse-drawn and motorized fire apparatus set in a restored 1908 Columbus Engine House (No.16) on 4th Street about a block from the Convention Center.
Current and retired firefighters volunteer to assist with the restoration of the equipment, as well as act as docents. The day we were there two gentlemen took the time to walk us around much of the exhibit explaining their history and uses. Of particular interest was the hose tower, for hanging and drying the hoses.
While the collection of old fire trucks, hose heads, old wood water pipe sections and were very cool without a doubt the steam pumper “The Monarch” was the most impressive, both visually and in it’s use. A visit to the Central Ohio Fire Museum is strongly recommended, the kid in you will love it.
We continued out of town to the Fairfield County Fair. Held in Lancaster since 1851, the Fair is the last of all county fairs in Ohio, and is billed as Ohio’s oldest continually running fair. Usually the cooler October weather adds to the appeal, and this day was no different, a perfect sunny day with temperatures about 70 degrees, in an excellent setting beneath Mount Pleasant, a 250′ high rock outcropping set in the appropriately named Rising Park, all located across the street from the fairgrounds north end.
There are numerous old buildings throughout the fairgrounds, the highlights being the curved grandstands on a back corner (that unfortunately arsonists burned down in 2016), a round barn, and the ‘newer’ brick grandstands that were built in 1927. After spending a couple of hours checking out the harness racing horses, other various animals, a restored village complete with an antique tractor collection and a small collection of booths we made our way to the grandstands for some harness racing. With the anthem being provided by a band of about 10 guys age 70+ we settled in for a few races, complete with betting booths.
The Fairfield County Fair is better than most of the other county fairs I have been to, mostly because of location and timing, but is far from the State Fair – which is part of it’s appeal.
Last stop of the day was the Bob McDorman Corvette collection in Canal Winchester. Bob was a Chevy dealer for many years, and had collected Corvette’s, and other cars. Eventually he built a nice building in the middle of the small town that now houses the museum.
The cars are presented in a straightforward manner, lined up on each side of the building interspersed with some of the neon sign collection, and other artifacts. One room set off by itself was distinctive with it’s checkered flag floor and two 1978 Indy 500 Pace Car Corvettes, along with a recreation of Bob’s office.
The museum is not bad, however compared to others the $10 entry fee was a bit high. If you are into cars it is worth the visit, but you won’t likely spend more than an hour there.