ITEMS Get a fair deal on pens, zipper pulls -- they're free

One fairgoer filled a shopping bag with free-for-all finds at the fair in less than two hours.
CANFIELD -- Angela Amin of Boardman expected to have a good time when she took her 3-year-old daughter, Emily, to the Canfield Fair, but they got more than cotton candy, kiddy rides and a stroll down the midway. They also got a bag full of free stuff.
Chip clips, refrigerator magnets, pens and pencils, bandages, sample packets of Udder Cream, stickers, calendars and bookmarkers.
Emily's favorites are a ball-point bubble pen necklace from Forum Health's Tod Children's Hospital, a Pete the Penguin zipper pull from Youngstown State University, a paper nurse's hat, a watercolor painting she made in the Fine Arts Building, and a crayon drawing of a turtle given to her by a teenage boy who was making pictures, too. The boy signed the picture, "Turtles rock. Your newest and weirdest friend, Andy."
What mom likes
Her mom likes the baby wipes and hand sanitizer. "The aerial picture is pretty cool, too," she said, holding up a laminated picture from the Mahoning County Soil & amp; Water Conservation District that shows her house and property from the air.
There were other things that caught her eye too -- free gun locks from the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department distributed in one of the media tents and free mouth guards for student athletes.
Amin has no use for either, she said, but was intrigued that someone who does need them could pick them up for free.
"There's a different dentist in the Medical Building every few hours and they all do something different," she added.
In 90 minutes, Amin literally filled her Vindicator shopping bag -- free in The Vindicator tent of course -- with freebies, had her blood pressure checked and was screened for glaucoma.
Emily had her blood pressure, height and weight checked. The nurse who measured Emily also gave her mom a pamphlet with children's growth statistics.
"That's the fun part, learning about health matters and the different things that are available in the community," Amin said. "All these things they were handing out, they were just a bonus."
Although she has a bagful of goodies, Amin said she is most excited about information she picked up about parenting and how to instill confidence in daughters.
"We got all kinds of things," said Linda Camp, of Boardman. She and her 15-year-old granddaughter and her granddaughter's 15-year-old friend also had a bagful.
"I got Band-Aids, pencils; the girls are most excited about these," she said, holding up a shoelace-type necklace that will hold keys. "And they got candy and this stress ball from Tod Children's Hospital, magnets from Right to Life. Oh, and we got football tickets from The Vindicator."
The newspaper distributes free tickets to a Youngstown State University home game twice a day to fairgoers who completed a reader survey.
Marty Greggo of Austintown is delighted with the free county maps he picked up in the Mahoning County Engineer's tent and the Bikeways map from Mill Creek MetroParks.
"It's nice not to get lost when you're going somewhere," he chuckled.
He and his wife, JoAnn, are cyclists and like exploring bike trails and new paths.
"The extra maps go into our bike bags and into our car," he said.
"We only pick up what we know we are going to refer to," JoAnn Greggo said. "If you pick up everything, you get home and what are you going to do with it?"
Freebies are available at displays throughout the fairgrounds as long as supplies last.

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