Canfield Fairgrounds’ New Event Center Will Fill Void

CANFIELD, Ohio — Though a single brick has yet to be laid and a nail yet to be driven, interest is high for the Canfield Fair Event Center.

“We’ve had many inquiries already, people asking to book it,” said George Roman III, director of entertainment and concessions for the Canfield Fair.

Officials broke ground Wednesday for the new center, to be built on the southeast portion of the fairgrounds, on the corner of Goshen and Wetmore Drives. 

The center, expected to be complete within three years, will house animals and activities for the Junior Fair for two weeks during the Canfield Fair and be rented out to the public the remainder of the year.

“There is demand around here for many of the larger convention centers that we don’t have in our immediate area,” Roman said.

Phase One will entail construction of a 35,000-square-foot exhibition space that will act as the main building for the center. The second and third phases will add stalls for Junior Fair and a commercial kitchen, “that will be able to produce enough food for 10,000 people,” according to Roman.

He said that with the size of the building and the abundance of available parking, the new center will be able to accommodate a variety of events, from truck and RV exhibitions to home and garden shows.

Phase one is expected to be complete by July 2020, right on time for the 174th annual Canfield Fair, said Bergen Giordani, who is coordinating the $4.2 million capital campaign for the center.

“The community building will be a huge asset to the Mahoning Valley as a whole. It will allow for events that will fund businesses, restaurants and hotels in the area,” she told the crowd gathered at the groundbreaking.

The idea for an event center began in 2015 when the long-range planning committee of the fair proposed several projects to the board. 

The top concern was growing youth involvement in agriculture in the coming years, and the area where the Junior Fair was currently housed was being outgrown, said David Dickey, president of the Canfield Fair Board of Directors.

“When we looked into expanding the coliseum and animal shelters, it became very apparent that the cost of these buildings was very expensive to be used two weeks out of the year,” Dickey said.

Unlike the current location, the new building is not located near any roadways, meaning it will provide a safer experience for the children in Junior Fair, whose numbers are growing, said director Ward Campbell.

“This year we have 100 kids that have applied to have steers here, up probably 10% or 15% from other years,” Campbell said.

So far the campaign has raised $2.1 million for the center, which Dickey marveled, was just an idea two short years ago.

“The generosity of local businesses, organizations and individuals has been tremendous,” he said.

Pictured: Representatives from the Canfield Fair broke ground on a new event center that will house the Junior Fair, as well as other events year-round.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.