Top 10 Things about Opening Day at the Ohio State Fair:
10. It was Ohio Lottery Day, and with ticket takers at the gates decked out in Lottery gear, everybody knew it.
9. Cow Man. A State Fair employee, he actually wears an identification tag with his name – Cow Man – and photo on it, in case, I guess, there is some dispute about his identity. I have to hand it to Cow Man – it’s got to be 200 degrees when you’re, well, Cow Man. And he’s friendly too. Director Burke loved him.
7. Lambs in Speedos. Technically, they’re called “tubes” and are used to keep the lambs clean and warm after they’ve been shaved. But, face it, they look like Speedos, no?
6. Lottery retailer Whitehall Shell, in the Marketplace on the fairgrounds, is giving away a free $1 Rolling Cash 5 ticket when you buy $5 in Powerball wagers. A great opportunity to win big bucks.
5. Hard working Lottery staffers. It takes a lot of work to stage an on-the-road taping of our game show, and it made me proud to see green-shirted Lottery staffers zipping this way and that, taking tickets, handing out Lottery merchandise, delivering cash and prizes to lucky winners. Hats off to the Lottery’s Cash Explosion Department – Executive Producer Barry Riley and the game show team – Ken Dauenhauer, Susan Diamond, James Carothers and Bianca Sanders. At the Lottery, the Game Show Dept. is housed in Operations, under the direction of Connie Miller.
4. Fair food. I personally discovered two taste sensations in the same day: The tried-and-true Amish recipe of “noodles on mashed” which is just what it sounds like – egg noodles on top of mashed potatoes, or looked at another way, carbs on top of your carbs. Brilliant. For dessert, I had – are you ready for this? – deep fried Captain Crunch on a stick! I am not making that up … at first, I was merely intrigued by the notion of deep fried Captain Crunch. “But is it on a stick?” I asked, because at the fair, a meal isn’t a meal unless it’s on a stick. (I made a special exception for carbs on carbs.) When the answer was, “Why, yes it is,” that sealed the deal. “Sold!” I said. I feel the need to explain that I don’t eat like this every day, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. And as they say, when in Rome … or Columbus …
3. The Butter Cow. A treat to see every year, it’s like a train wreck that you see coming but can’t look away from. The Butter Cow is literally a butter sculpture that takes 200 hours to create. Housed in a refrigerated case, the Butter Cow brings in flocks of folks every year. This year, next to the Butter Cow and her calf, there was also the butter Joe Thomas, offensive lineman of the Cleveland Browns and the butter Chinedum Ndukwe, safety of the Cincinnati Bengals. Oh, and a giant football.
2. Director Burke, rock star. Aside from getting to hang out with Cow Man, Director Burke got to be the Grand Marshall of the State Fair parade. That meant she got to ride in this 2010 Mustang convertible, navigated through hoards of people by Joan, a lovely person and very good driver.
1. Cash Explosion: Road to Riches. In addition to our Cash Explosion contestants who walked away with, well, a lot of money – I can’t tell you how much because the show hasn’t aired yet – thousands of folks escaped the heat to help us create a loud, absolutely crazed audience. Dozens of lucky audience members walked away with prizes galore, including $1,100 in cash prizes.
All in all, a fantastic day. Thanks to everyone who attended our tapings and shared some fun with us.