If the Ohio State Fair lives up to its reputation as one of the hungriest places on earth, Chris Taylor is expecting a good visit.

The co-founder of Waffle Chix -- "chix" meaning chicken -- is bringing his brand of food on a stick to the fair, which runs through Aug. 5 at the Ohio Expo Center and State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave. in Columbus.

One of 32 vendors offering some kind of skewered fare, Waffle Chix is new. It will offer both savory and sweet items wrapped in a Belgian-style waffle cooked using a grill that makes the skewered meal look like a corn dog.

"We couldn't be more excited," Taylor said. "We have pretty good expectations."

Taylor and his sons, Spenser and Tanner, all Iowa farmers, started Waffle Chix last year.

The menu features the house specialty -- chicken, sausage and pizza wrapped in its own specialty waffle dough -- plus a duet of Snickers and Milky Way candy bars and chocolate-chip cookie dough.

The price is $6 each or $10 for two. A frozen orange drink is $6.

Among the 27 categories of deep-fried foods are handheld fruit pies from the Der Dutchman Restaurant and Bakery in Plain City, fair spokeswoman Alicia Shoults said.

At the Taste of Ohio Cafe, in the center of the fairgrounds, Ohio farmers serve such dishes as salads, eggs, turkey ribs and fresh fruit.

"The other nice thing about being in the Taste of Ohio Cafe is that's where Ohio wines and beers are served," Shoults said.

The fair, which opened July 25, also includes music, prize-winning livestock and a host of other attractions.

Music acts that require the purchase of separate tickets include rhythm-and-blues performers TLC and En Vogue, classic rock bands Styx and Cheap Trick, country star Reba McEntire and contemporary Christian septet Casting Crowns.

Shows that are free with fair-admission tickets include Sister Hazel (July 28), Welshly Arms (Aug. 1) and Love and Theft (Aug. 2).

New to the fair is the Nerveless Nocks All American Stunt and Thrill Show, a daredevil act featuring aerial and motorcycle stunts.

Also new are Marvelous Mutts, rescue dogs that dive into water, speed through agility courses and leap to catch Frisbees.

"This is our 165th Ohio State Fair and it has been great for many years and many generations," Shoults said. "We do something new to make it better every single year and this year's no exception."

Among the iconic attractions are the butter cow and calf, made with 2,000 pounds of butter.

Shoults said the sculptures are made of expired butter that no longer would be viable for sales.

After the fair ends, the butter is removed from the sculptures' frame and composted, she said.

The fair is one year removed from a tragedy that marked opening day last year, when a ride broke apart, killing 18-year-old Tyler Jarrell and seriously injuring seven others.

"Last year there was a very tragic accident that was the result of an undetectable problem," Shoults said. "The only good thing was that it sparked international change for the amusement industry."

ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, is changing the way rides are manufactured, operated and inspected, she said.

Officials still are working with Amusements of America, which has been at the fair for 26 years, which is going "above and beyond any standards to ensure the rides are safe," Shoults said.

For more information about the fair, go to www.ohiostatefair.com.

If you go

Address: The Ohio Expo Center and State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Aug. 4 and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 5.

Admission: $10 for ages 13 to 59, $8 for seniors 60 and older and children 5 to 12 years old. Children 4 and younger will be admitted free.

Parking: $5.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary