Arts & Culture
The sights and sounds to be found in and around Wayne County are sure to please even the most culturally-savvy person. In addition to being close to the Cleveland, Akron and Canton urban communities and the many splendid offerings there, Wayne County also offers its own variety of quality programs and opportunities. From music, theater, and dance to festivals, wine tastings and home and garden tours, Wayne County offers much to satisfy your arts and cultural tastes.
Music lovers of all ages with every taste in melody will be delighted by what Wayne County has to offer. Concerts and performances representing all musical genres are given regularly throughout the year by the Wayne Choral Union, Wooster Symphony Orchestra, Wooster Jazz Ensemble, and others.
Of particular note is the Ohio Light Opera (OLO), which was founded by The College of Wooster in 1979 as both a cultural and educational endeavor. Culturally, OLO is the only professional company in the U.S. entirely devoted to operetta and the finest lyric theatre pieces, performing not only the entire Gilbert and Sullivan repertoire, but also reviving rarely performed Continental works of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The College of Wooster, one of the country’s leading private liberal arts schools, provides a number of free lectures throughout the year, houses its own art gallery, and is the site of a number of artistic performances throughout the year. Wayne College, in Orrville, annually hosts the Shakespeare Festival.
The Wayne Center for Arts provides classes and workshops in a variety of art disciplines, including visual arts, pottery, music, theatre, and dance. The building also houses a 200-seat auditorium, a conference room, and two professional galleries, The Gault Gallery and Roberta Looney Workshop Gallery. Both house local, regional, and national exhibits which are free to the community. The center boasts its own pre-professional ballet company, the Wayne Center Ballet. Each year the Arts Center hosts a wealth of special events, including bluegrass, folk, blues and jazz concerts, exhibit openings, professional children's theatre performances and opera talks. The Arts Center also hosts the annual Functional Ceramics Exhibit and Workshop, which draws more than 200 potters from throughout the country.
The Wayne County Fair is billed as "Ohio's Foremost Agricultural Fair," with annual attendance exceeding 100,000 persons. Perennial favorite events at the fair include the farm tractor pulls, demolition derby, horse and livestock shows, and produce and baking competitions. The Wayne Count Junior Fair held concurrently with the county fair, is thought to be the largest gathering of 4-H participants in the state.
Since 1987, Wooster has been home to Ohio's biggest one-day literary event – The Buckeye Book Fair - designed to give the reading public the opportunity to meet authors and purchase new autographed books. As a result of the previous Book Fairs, more than $180,000 in literary grants has been distributed to schools, libraries, and other literacy programs. In 2018, Tri-County Educational Service Center was awarded a literacy grant for k-5, in the amount of $1,198,660.00.
For history buffs, the Wayne County Historical Society has six structures representing the history of Wayne County. The Orrville Historical Society also operates a museum and the Judge Smith Orr homestead. The Lincoln Highway Historic Byway also runs through Wayne County along the route of America’s first transcontinental automobile route.
For a complete listing of Wayne County’s arts and cultural events, visit www.waynecountyevents.com.