20,000 Enthusiastic Fans Greet Trump at Canfield Fair

CANFIELD, Ohio – Jeff Canzonetta of Hubbard skipped a family barbecue so he could see Donald Trump Monday afternoon at the Canfield Fair, glad he did – and his wife was even gladder.

“I caught hell [from family members] over not being at the barbecue,” he said after Trump appeared at the Mahoning County Republican Party tent. “You know what? It was OK. It was worth it.”

Maria Canzonetta happily pointed with pride to Trump running mate Mike Pence’s autograph on her T-shirt and the photographs she took of the Republican ticket on her smartphone.

“I was right up front,” she gushed. “It was awesome, totally awesome.”

The Canzonettas were among the 20,000 fairgoers who jammed the fairground’s midways to catch a glimpse of the GOP standard bearer, whose visit was rumored since Friday.

Last Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden swung by the fairgrounds after speaking at the United Auto Workers Local 1714 hall on behalf of Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Clinton is “the most dishonest person in the world,” Jeff Canzonetta said. “I don’t believe anything she says.”

Trump and Pence, sitting in the back seat of a caravan of SUVs, arrived at the fair around 3 p.m. They waved and shook hands as they took a nine-minute stroll to the Mahoning County Republican Party’s tent. As they made their way, supporters chanted, “Trump, Trump, Trump.”

Once the nominees entered the tent, the chants turned to, “Build the wall, build the wall.”

After mingling with party leaders and signing autographs, Trump used a bullhorn to speak to the crowd. “We’re going to bring jobs back to Ohio. We’re not going to make any of these horrible trade deals anymore,” he said.

Trump and Pence then were driven to the fair’s administration building where they were interviewed exclusively by ABC’s David Muir for about 45 minutes. Accompanying the candidates was campaign manager Kellyann Conway. Local reporters had no opportunity to ask questions.

“It’s hard to believe that somebody that is that esteemed would come to this small town to our small fair,” said Anglea Brose of Canfield.

“This is a very important area as far as politics is concerned,” she said. “Generally they vote Democratic, so hopefully he’ll help sway them to his column.”

Among Brose’s concerns are jobs and how little has been done to help blue-collar workers. “It seems to me if you’re the working-class American you’re getting the brunt of everything. But if you opt not to work, then you are able to live off the tax dollars of the working American,” she said. “It’s time to change that.”

Bob White of North Lima was pleased to see the enthusiastic response to Trump, although he got to see only the candidate wave and the top of his head.

“I could see the crowd was really into it,” White said. “People are tired of the way things are.

“He may be the right choice or the wrong choice but he’s a different choice,” he opined. “We surely know what we’re going to get with Hillary.”

White likes that Trump is a businessman. Trump employs “tens of thousands of people” and “if he was bad, you’d hear more about bad stuff he does,” he stated. As for the lawsuits filed against Trump accusing him of not paying construction contractors, White said some of that might be vendors who didn’t perform as they contracted.

The last time Steven Thompkins had an opportunity to see a presidential candidate in person was when Richard Nixon ran in the 1968.

Thompkins, originally from eastern Pennsylvania but who now lives in Youngstown, found it “interesting” to see such a large turnout for someone whose arrival wasn’t confirmed “for the longest time.

“It’s interesting that he’s attracting so much interest in a non-Republican area,” he said, “which indicates a lot of dissention.”

“I’m blown away by what I saw today,” said Mark Munroe, chairman of the Mahoning County Republican Party. In more than 45 years of coming to the fairgrounds and attending political events, he said he never witnessed what he saw Monday.

“We always knew that there was a lot of support for Donald Trump in this community, but to see the incredible outpouring that we saw today was just amazing,” he said.

From his conversation with the GOP ticket, it was apparent to him that Trump and Mike Pence saw something special happening too. “I got that in particular from Trump,” Munroe said, “when he thanked me for what we were doing, and he looked at me and said, ‘Wow, you guys are great.’ “

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