Canfield Fair Official Expects a Rise in Attendance

CANFIELD, Ohio – The forecast calls for clear skies for the entire six-day run of the Canfield Fair, and officials are hoping attendance will top 300,000.

The fair opens Wednesday and runs through Labor Day.

Last year’s cumulative attendance for all six days was about 285,000, which was “a little bit low,” said fair board member George Roman.

The pandemic was still on people’s minds last summer – and vendors, too. A few regular food stand and other vendors decided to sit out last year for safety’s sake.

That won’t be the case this year, Roman said.

“Some pulled out last year but there has been a bit of a comeback this year,” he said.

The Canfield Fair – the largest county fair in the state – is in its 176th year. While the goal is to be as dependable and traditional as the agricultural industry that sustains it, there is always something new.

The inaugural class of the Mahoning County Agricultural Hall of Fame will be inducted at 11 a.m. Wednesday on the concourse stage, which is in front of the grandstand. The class includes A. Bacon, Chester Bedell, Vernon E. Crouse, Elden R. Groves, J. Paul Good, William B. Phillips, David and Joanna Witmer, and Paul D. Witmer.

The fair’s status among its peers will be recognized this year in the form of a visit from Marla Calico, president and CEO of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions, on Friday and Saturday.

A visit from the leader of the IAFE is “quite prestigious in that the association has nearly 1,200 members worldwide and only a handful are visited each year,” said Bob Jarvis, Canfield Fair board president.

The cost of admission for adults this year is largely unchanged from last year, with $2 increases for adults on Friday and Monday.

Admission prices for adults (age 13 and up) are $6 on Wednesday; $8 on Thursday; $10 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; and $8 on Monday.

Children 6 and under always free. Admission for children ages 7 to 12 is $3 on Wednesday; $4 on Thursday and Friday; $5 on Saturday and Sunday; and $4 on Monday. Children 6 and under are always free. Senior citizens (age 62 and up) can get discounted admission Wednesday ($4) and Friday ($6).

Parking is free in the fairground lots.

The full list of events is too long to mention. CLICK HERE for events list.

OTHER NEW EVENTS

Also premiering this year will be Ag Day, a competition of farm-related fun, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, at the grandstand. Sponsored by the Springfield Ruritans, the event will begin with a tractor parade, followed by a bale toss, obstacle course, tug of war, sulk racing, barrel rolling, and a “back a wagon” competition. Prizes will be awarded to the winners.

Tractor participants must register no later than 10:15 a.m. that day at the antique tractor registration building; 4-H participants will meet at 10:30 a.m. in front of the grandstand.

A couple of newer events returning this year include the amateur fiddler competition at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at the southeast corner of the grandstand track.

The competition premiered last year. “It’s all local fiddlers and it gets pretty involved,” Roman said.

Old MacDonald’s Barn, an area where children can get close to farm animals, will return after being forced to cancel last year for safety reasons.

“It’s a full array of animals, including ponies, for the kids,” Roman said. It’s located near the antique tractor and open each day.

The Wiener Dog Derby Racing event will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday at the grandstand.

The popular event debuted a few years ago and has been a hit.

CONCERTS

One aspect of the fair that is always different are the concerts by major rock and country artists at 9,700-seat grandstand.

Ticket sales have been “steady” for country star Sam Hunt on Sunday and classic rocker John Fogerty, founder of Rock and Roll Hall of

Fame band Creedence Clearwater Revival, on Monday.

Tickets remain available for both shows, Roman said, noting that there is always surge in demand the day of each show “once people see what the weather will be like.”

Concert promoter JAC Live of Youngstown books the shows for the fair board, and Ken Bigley, vice president of the company, was pleased with this year’s acts.

Bringing pop-country star Hunt to the area has been a goal of JAC Live. “He has played Cleveland and Pittsburgh before but never in between,” Bigley said in May when he announced the shows.

“We’ve worked on bringing him in in the past but the stars didn’t align,” he said. “This year, they did.”

Hunt’s hip-hop flavored debut “Montevallo” (2014) spawned four No. 1 singles: “Leave the Night On,” “Take Your Time,” “House Party and “Break Up in a Small Town.”

Hunt’s sophomore album, “Southside,” was released in 2020, but the pandemic delayed his touring plans that year. That album spawned the hits “Body Like a Back Road,” “Drinkin’ Too Much” and “Downtown’s Dead.”

Opening for for Hunt will be Ryan Hurd and Lily Rose. Tickets range from $125 to $42.50 (plus fees) at ticketmaster.com. Tickets will also be available at the grandstand box office before the show.

The 76-year-old Fogerty is approaching living legend status. He made his Mahoning Valley debut when he dazzled a sold-out crowd at Covelli Centre with co-headliners ZZ Top.

Bigley said the time was right to bring him back.

“He’s one of those guys where every show is a new experience,” he said. “He is custom-made for a fair audience.”

Creedence’s long list of hits include “Proud Mary,” “Susie Q,” “Fortunate Son, “Born on the Bayou,” “Bad Moon Rising” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain.”

Opening for Fogerty will be Hearty Har, which is led by his sons Shane and Tyler.

Advance tickets range from $99.50 to $35 (plus fees) at ticketmaster.com. Tickets will also be available at the grandstand box office before the show.

Pictured at top: Modern-country star Sam Hunt will perform at the grandstand on Sunday.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.