Wine makes the heart of mortal man rejoice — Psalm 15:104.
The Ohio Fair Board has laid a proposal at the feet of Gov. Ted Strickland that would allow him to put that Psalm into action. The board would like to see Ohio-made beer and wine served at this year's fair.
We agree that it is inappropriate to serve alcohol in public places if the situation is not going to be closely monitored by security or safety forces. However, the state fair is a controlled environment and would make a fantastic venue for folks from across the state to sample some of Ohio's best beverages. And Ohio has some truly outstanding products to offer, such as Cleveland's Great Lakes Beer and Ohio Valley wines. (Did you know that in 1860 Ohio led the nation in wine production, only to have its grape crop besieged by plauge? The state has been regrouping ever since.)
While the Ohio Fair Board knew it had a tough sell in the Taft administration, they are hoping Strickland, who has the final say in such matters, will take a more open minded approach. It's not as if the former minister doesn't have any precedent for this decision most of the larger fairs in the country allow alcohol sales.
The additional revenue generated by alcohol sales also could be used to expand the fair for another week it was previously three weeks long and is scheduled to last just two weeks this year, Aug. 1 through Aug. 12.
Strickland's spokesman said the governor will review the proposal "with an eye toward tradition and protecting a family friendly environment at the fair." But unlike other events billed as "family-friendly environments," such as sporting events, the fair is not exactly conducive to simply sitting around and getting "wasted." At the ballgame, you can sit and drink for three hours heck, the beer even comes to you. You can sit at the fair, but the stands could easily be setup to prevent you from parking yourself right next to the alcohol. Other alternatives could be implemented as well, such as limiting the sale of alcohol either by hours or by quantity.
The state fair is supposed to showcase the best Ohio has to offer, and by keeping alcohol out, a part of the state's rich heritage and tradition is also kept out.