Plenty to Crow About at 173rd Canfield Fair

CANFIELD, Ohio – As visitors walk around the 173rd Canfield Fair later this summer, it’ll be easy for them to see why its organizers are in the midst of a $4 million capital campaign to add buildings to the fairgrounds.

“We needed a bigger place to show and house more animals and more junior fair students,” said, Craig Myers, chairman of the steering committee for the capital campaign, at the event’s preview day Wednesday. “There’s a need in the Valley for an events center with room for parking and where we can host home and garden shows and auto shows.” 

The fair will be held Aug. 28 through Sept. 2.

Visitors to this year’s fair can see the progress on the new site of the expo center at the corner of Wetmore and Goshen Drives, as well as make donations both online and in person to the capital campaign. The project started several years ago with 4-H growing and more youth becoming involved in the fair. 

Enough has already been raised to start the first phase, an exhibition area. Next on the list are restrooms, a kitchen area, meeting rooms and a foyer. Phase three will be final additions to the exhibition area. 

“Right now, for phase one, we’re in about $2.4 million,” Myers said. “The total project will probably be just over $4 million when we’re all said and done. It’s a great addition for the Valley and for the Mahoning County fairgrounds as well.”

Bergen Giordani, owner of One Hot Cookie, is excited to bring more energy and excitement to Mahoning County through the new expo center. Bergen, the capital campaign and events coordinator, said a groundbreaking is scheduled for Sept. 25.

“I was in 4-H a million years ago, but 4-H is a great opportunity for children to become involved in not only the fair but in the community,” she said. “Having the junior fair, a home and being a part of the events center is all encompassing what we’re looking for out of this building.”

Phase one of the expo center will take six to eight months, with the entire building completed within three years. 

The fair’s opening ceremony on Aug. 29 at 10 a.m. will be held at the construction site and will feature the All Veteran Group parachute jump sponsored by Window World.

“My dad, being a veteran himself, has decided to jump out of a perfectly good airplane with Mike Elliott,” said Pat Moran of Window World. “He is the president of the All Veterans Group and is the same person who came up and jumped with President George Bush on his 83rd, 85th and 90th birthday.” 

Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley will sponsor this year’s Youth Day on Aug. 29, which will feature an activity tent on the main concourse. Continuing Healthcare Solutions will sponsor Senior Days on Aug. 28 and 30 with a designated senior cooling station. 

New events featured at this year’s grandstand include the Pig Iron Derby on Aug. 28 and Wiener Dog Races on Aug. 31.

The annual Demolition Derby will take place Aug. 30, and the Truck and Tractor Pull will take place on Aug. 31. Pentatonix, with special guest Rachel Platten, will perform Sept. 1 and comedian Gabriel Iglesias will round out this year’s acts on Sept. 2. 

Each year, events are selected with consideration given to feedback from the previous years, said Dave Dickey, president of the fair’s board of directors.

“Our fairgoers are great people and they keep us going,” he said. “I wasn’t there at the first one, but I’ve been lucky to be here the last few years.”

The fair also announced a new partnership with Youngstown Clothing Co. as the official souvenir provider of the 173rd Canfield Fair. The specialty shop will sell T-shirts and other apparel inspired by the Canfield Fair, with a portion of proceeds going to the capital campaign. 

“For us to be given the honor of being able to be here is a huge deal for us,” said Tim Petrey, co-owner of Youngstown Clothing Co. “We’ve been a part of the Youngstown community for three years now and the Canfield Fair is an extremely iconic experience.”

That experience is shared with those from outside of northeastern Ohio, Dickey added, with out-of-state visitors becoming more and more common.

“They make it their vacation to come here,” Dickey said. “Our objective is to keep the price of the gate down for the fairgoer. We are nonprofit, but we do have to maintain buildings and keep the fair going.” 

In terms of total attendance, the fair is one of the top 25 in the nation. Last year, upward of 500,000 were in attendance and payroll runs $1 million for the week. 

“We put a city up in a week and then we tear it back down every year,” Dickey said. 

Pictured: Dave Dickey, president of the Canfield Fair’s board of directors, said $2.4 million has been raised so far for the fairgrounds’ new expo center.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.