Local resident, businessman holds record for longevity
The Boardman man has exhibited at the fair for 75 consecutive years.
By MARALINE KUBIK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Elbert L. Agnew has been a regular at the Canfield Fair for a long time.
The 86-year-old Boardman resident has been exhibiting at the fair "for at least 75 years," he said. "As a kid I exhibited rabbits, goats and chickens."
As an adult he's exhibited tractors, mowers and farm equipment. Agnew Farm Equipment, incorporated in 1935 by Agnew, his father, Frank, and brothers Manning and Myron, is the oldest continuous exhibitor at the fair.
The company, founded in 1824, originally sold horse-drawn farm equipment and first exhibited its wares at the 1939 Canfield Fair.
Apple exhibit: Since then, Agnew doesn't remember missing even a single day at the fair. "I used to be the biggest apple exhibitor," he said.
That was when he still owned 300 acres in the area bordered by Market Street, Southwoods Avenue, Roche Way and Hitchcock Road, including the area where Boardman High School, Glenwood Middle School, and neighboring residential areas now stand.
Agnew's 25-acre apple orchard was where the middle school stands; his 60-acre potato field was where the high school is, and his maple sugar camp -- the largest in Boardman -- occupied the adjacent residential neighborhood, he recalled.
All that remains of Agnew's farm is the house where he still lives and three acres surrounding it.
Agnew Farm Equipment's showroom also sits on the Market Street property.
Fair ties: Family ties to the fair go beyond Agnew's exhibits, the old-timer said. "My uncle Charlie -- Charles Agnew -- was a Mahoning County commissioner and he was on the fair board for 25 years," he said. "In 1911 uncle Charlie built the fair's educational building."
Agnew's son John is also involved. He's taken over Agnew's farm equipment business and is ultimately responsible for the company's fair exhibit.
Agnew Farm Equipment had more than 100 pieces of equipment on display at the fair this year.
The company specializes in Troybilt, Snapper, Shindaiwa, Sabre, Echo, John Deere, Lawn Boy, Ariens, Wright, Jonsered, Trac Vac and Bobcat equipment. John Deere toys are also available.