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Kasich touts Ohio to job seekers, tourists

by MARC KOVAC | CAPITAL BUREAU CHIEF Published: July 27, 2016 2:41 PM

Columbus -- Gov. John Kasich opened the Ohio State Fair July 27, cutting the ceremonial ribbon, visiting the butter cow and watching butterflies crawl up his arm.

He didn't go down the giant slide or take a turn on the merry-go-round during his morning tour of the State Fairgrounds just north of downtown Columbus, but he did urge a giant animatronic Smokey Bear to tell kids about the dangers of drug abuse, direct state agencies to post bigger and better signs spotlighting the job assistance they offer and stop for any number of pictures with people on hand for the first day of the nearly two-week event.

Through it all, Kasich touted what Ohio has to offer to job-seekers and tourists.

"We had this incredible event in Cleveland, and people are trying to choose between, 'I might go to Maui or I might go to Cleveland,'" he said. "That's how far we've come/ Ohio has come back. Ohio is cool. Ohio rocks. And that's what it's all about, and it all starts with this great Ohio State Fair."

The fair runs through Aug. 7. More than 980,000 people attended last year's 12-day event -- some years, more than 110,000 people hit the fairgrounds on a single day.

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Those visitors are expected to consume more than 213,000 orders of french fries, 150,000-plus slices of pizza, nearly 100,000 lemon shake-ups and 2.5 million ounces of iced tea. That's not mentioning the 32 different types of food that can be had on a stick, much of which is deep fried in advance.

Kasich, like governors before him, has opened the State Fair annually since he took office. It's not a static visit, either -- on July 27, the governor offered suggestions on ways to improve state agency booths and the fairgrounds in general.

Early in his administration, Kasich suggested that more trees be planted on the grounds to provide shade for visitors. Those comments have lead to the planting of dozens of trees, with more to come.

"We can transform this whole fairgrounds so that we're not walking around in a skillet on a stove," he said. "I think we're headed in the right direction."

Kasich kept the politics at a minimum, refraining from any direct mention of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump or the 2016 election during his morning tour.

A heckler did interrupt his pre-ribbon-cutting speech, shouting, "Hey, endorse Trump Kasich!" but the governor wasn't biting.

"Somebody screamed, but I didn't hear him," Kasich replied.

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.


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