COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As people walked into the Ohio State Fair Wednesday morning for the ceremonial ribbon cutting and grand opening for the fair, they were greeted by a number of mascots.
One of them was an astronaut complete with a gold reflective radiation shield and a cut-out of Ohio’s border.
Pulling people in for pictures shot through the frame of Ohio’s border, the astronaut gives the camera a thumbs up.
It is a depiction of Ohio’s contribution to history, and timely given this year is the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing.
It is also not the only one, with this year’s butter sculpture serving as a second display of Ohio pride.
There may be no one more proud of Ohio than its Governor, Mike DeWine.
“This fair is about so many different things, it really is an opportunity to showcase the State of Ohio; it’s an opportunity for us to brag a little bit,” said DeWine moments before opening the fair.
DeWine wants people to remember to celebrate agriculture and the hard work young people put in to get their 4H and FFA projects to the fair.
He proudly told the crowd in attendance that his children were part of 4H for 34 years, and that every once in a while one of them would have a project get to the fair; one of them was a rocket.
Bringing his grandchildren on stage to help cut the ribbon, DeWine also wanted people to focus on the fair being about family.
He and his wife Fran then toured the fair with two of their grandchildren.
Every once and a while DeWine would be stopped by a fairgoer for a word or two, then he would rejoin his family, often taking his granddaughter by the hand.
The two strolled down one of the midways together, surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of the fair.
The Governor visited with livestock competitors and took time to talk to the young people who brought their animals to compete.
He was offered the opportunity to help clean a sheep, to which he graciously declined but was tempted to reach out and touch the animal.
The Kinsmans’, owners of the animal, were happy he took the time to visit with them.
“We really appreciate what he’s done for the AG community and it’s just great to see him out and just getting to touch and shaking hands. We love, just love seeing him around,” said Lynn Kinsman.
But it was not just hand shakes and smiles for DeWine on Wednesday.
He made an announcement prior to taking his tour that he would be asking the legislature to pursue a change in sentencing law for felons who are caught with a gun.
DeWine wants to see the punishment for violating state law raised to be on par with federal punishments for the same crime.
He says, that would make our streets safer in Ohio.
DeWine followed the same path Governor Kasich followed on his Fair tours, but did not complete it today.
His predecessor would pass through the butter sculpture display and head to the Department of Natural Resources exhibit, and finish his tour with a visit to the butterfly house.
DeWine pulled up short of that, choosing to stop at the Taste of Ohio Café, so he could watch his wife give a cooking demonstration to, and with, children.
They made pizza. He watched attentively and smiled.