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General Information & Guidelines

Ohio State Fair General Information & Guidelines for Fine Arts, Creative Arts & Youth Arts

This general information is for the Arts exhibitions/competitions at the Ohio State Fair. Specific information can be found in the division and department notes.

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  • Artist/contestant fees and entry fees will not be refunded for canceled/non-exhibiting entries.
  • Overpayments of less than $5 will not be refunded.
  • Refer to Specific Arts’ division notes for fee information.
  • We encourage you to review all areas including the Youth Arts, Creative Arts, and Fine Arts (Amateur & Professional Divisions) to ensure you meet all necessary requirements.
  • If you elect to enter the same item multiple times in different departments/divisions, and are accepted into two or more of them, you will be required to select a department /division of choice to display your work.
  • We do not offer refunds for entry fees when applying with multiple entries.

Display Requirements

  • Entry tags must accompany each entry and should be securely attached. If a single entry includes more than one piece, the exhibitor must label each piece in a set (example: 1 of 3, 2 of 3, 3 of 3, etc.).
  • By entering the Arts, you are giving the Ohio State Fair permission to use photographs of their work at the Fair’s discretion and without compensation or further approval.
  • Once an item has been accepted for judging, it must remain in the building for the duration of the Fair. If removed, prizes will be forfeited with no fees refunded.
  • To maintain a proper and fair judging process, an artist’s/contestant’s name must not be visible on any submitted item(s).
  • The name and address portion of the entry tag will be covered during judging.
  • Artists/contestants must not deface entry tags to mark them in a way that might be recognizable by a judge (i.e. rubber stamps, passes, unusual ink colors, staples, etc.).
  • Artists/contestants may be required to provide their own display method unless otherwise specified by the Ohio State Fair.


  • Judging is based on recognized standards of quality, skill and workmanship. At the discretion of exhibition/entry organizers and/or judges, awards may not be given if the quality of an entry is not deemed deserving of an award. This ensures that those honored with an award from the Ohio State Fair know it is because their entry was judged as a quality entry by qualified and impartial judges.
  • No person shall act as a judge in any division where a family member is competing.
  • Volunteers or staff exhibiting may not work or assist judging in the division/class of entry.
  • All Judges' decisions are final.
  • Judging results will NOT be given over the phone. Judging results will be posted online on the corresponding Arts webpages.
  • Judges cannot participate as a contestant in the category in which they judge.


  • The director/coodinator and the Ohio State Fair officials reserve the right to disqualify and remove entries deemed to be in poor taste.
  • Disqualified items will not go on display. Artists/contestants of disqualified items will be notified by email or phone and a pick-up procedure will be determined.
  • Items meeting the following criteria will be disqualified by Fair management:
  • Inappropriate and/or in poor taste (not family friendly)
  • Items not meeting specified size requirements or restrictions as indicated in specific divisions
  • Damaged and/or unclean entries
  • Items entered in previous years
  • Items deemed by judges to be misrepresented or substandard to class
  • Artists/Contestants are not permitted to interfere with the judging process. Violators will be asked to leave immediately, and their entry disqualified.
  • Artists/Contestants attempting to influence the judges will forfeit prize monies and be disqualified.

Delivery of Entries and Exhibits

  • Entries and accepted artwork will only be accepted on the designated date and hours specified.
  • Please have an entry tag attached per department notes.
  • Accepted artwork must be presented ready to display per division notes.

Pick Up of Entries and Exhibits

  • All artwork/entries/exhibits not picked up by designated dates and times will be disposed of by Fair management.

Admission Tickets/Parking Passes

  • Exhibitor can purchase admission tickets when completing their online entries on ShoWorks.
  • General parking is free to the public.
  • If you are judging/participating in a live event during the Fair (July 24-August 4), you will receive a 15minute load/unload pass to drop off and pick up your materials. You will then be required to park in general parking for the duration of the event. Please remember to keep your pass to pick your materials back up at the end of the event later that day.


  • While on the grounds of the Ohio Expo Center, artists/contestants shall conform to socially acceptable standards of conduct as determined by the Ohio Expositions Commission or the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
  • The Ohio Expositions Commission and the State Highway Patrol reserve the right to remove any artist/contestant from the Ohio Expo Center for engaging in socially unacceptable behavior, illegal activity, or any other conduct which might endanger the health, welfare or safety of any other person on the premises.


  • Awards are available through the generosity of many companies and individuals, which are listed within the divisions and departments. Please help us thank our supporters through your patronage of their businesses.
  • All monetary awards will be paid by check after the Fair.
  • If a check is owed by the Ohio State Fair (i.e. premium dollars, etc.) and is not received by October 31st, you may call the entry department or send an email inquiry to: b.prince@expo.ohio.gov
  • All checks are void 90 days after they are issued and will be considered a forfeit of dollars if not cashed within 90 days.
  • Artists/contestants are responsible for all taxes owed to the IRS from their earnings (i.e. awards, sales). The IRS requires us to report earnings over $4,999. Payment for earnings can not be processed until the necessary registration is completed online. Ohio requires anyone receiving $4,999 or more to register as a “new supplier” at https://ohiopays.ohio.gov/. This MUST be done before any payment will be processed. Please be aware that you will be asked for banking information, as your payment will be processed as a direct deposit.
  • If you have received earnings (i.e. award dollars or sold artwork) for $499 or more in the past, you do not need to register again. However, you are responsible to make any address or name changes, by going to https://ohiopays.ohio.gov/ and updating your information. If you need assistance with the online registration process, please view this tutorial or may call the HELP DESK at 1.877.644.6771.
  • Premium awards are subject to change without notification.

Policies and Procedures/Indemnification

  • The Ohio State Fair management reserves the final and absolute right to interpret the rules and regulations and to arbitrarily settle and determine all matters, questions or differences in regard thereto or otherwise arising out or connected with any incident at the Ohio State Fair. It further reserves the right to determine unforeseen matters not covered by these rules, to amend or add to these rules as in its judgment it may determine, to withdraw premium offerings in all departments/divisions should any emergency exist, and circumstances demand it. The Arts staff will monitor and make every effort to protect displayed items; however, items will be displayed at the risk of the exhibitor. Upon submission of your entry to the Ohio State Fair’s Arts Exhibition/ Competitions, you agree to hold harmless and forever discharge the State of Ohio, Ohio Expositions Commission, its members, officers, employees, contractors and other authorized agents from any and all claims, actions, causes of actions, demands, costs, or damages that may arise from the loss, theft or other damage to your property during or related to its exhibition at the Ohio State Fair.
  • Photography is permitted for the purposes of participating in interactive artwork only. It is prohibited for the purposes of taking pictures of artwork for social media or creating reproductions. Pictures taken without the artist’s permission are subject to copyright law.

Protests and Appeals

  • Protests must be made in writing and signed by the party or parties making the protest. Protests shall be submitted to the Special Events Director no later than noon the day following the competition and related issue. If the protest involves an issue on items judged prior to the opening of the Fair, the protest shall be submitted no later than 24 hours after the beginning of the Fair.
  • Any party making a protest shall submit a fee of $100 which will be retained by the Ohio Expo Commission if the protest is not sustained.
  • The Ohio State Fair administration shall hold a meeting regarding the protest at which time the party making the protest may present evidence or argument in support of the protest.
  • A written decision will be made by an assigned representative of the Ohio State Fair administration. This decision is final and shall be served by mail to the party making the protest within ten days of the date on which the protest was heard.

Rule Violations

  • In the question of rule violation, the following due process will be used:
  • Fair officials will question the exhibitor/contestant and/or parties involved. If a violation is believed to have occurred, Fair officials will make recommendations to the designated committee member(s) of the Ohio Expositions Commission.
  • After the committee hears the case, and Fair officials have presented recommendations, they will decide if the case should be brought before the full Commission. In the decision of a case being brought before the Commission, all parties involved will be notified of a hearing date with all parties having the right to present their case. Upon hearing the case, the Ohio Expositions Commission will make a ruling.
  • If/when the Ohio State Fair management has satisfactory evidence of a violation of rule(s), the artist/contestant and/or their family may be barred from showing in any future Ohio State Fair. There is a three-year waiting period before the exhibitor is allowed the right of review. In the case that premium dollars have been awarded to an exhibitor in violation of a rule, the Ohio State Fair management will require the exhibitor to refund all premiums trophies, awards, and ribbons under such violation. Unless fraud and/or deception are involved, all placings stand.

Contact Information

General Questions

Ohio State Fair Special Events Department: 614-644-4043

The Fine Arts, Youth Arts, And Creative Arts programs are produced and directed by:

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